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The Marileo case demonstrates the use of counterintelligence operations against the Mapuche

"In the court at Angol, Raúl Castro Antipán admitted that he had carried out the incendiary attacks and other acts which the court defined as terrorist attacks .... while he was an agent of the Sipolcar [Intelligence Service of the Carabineros Police] of Chile!"

It was the complaint of the Jesuit priest Luis García Huidobro which set off the alarm bells about a situation which paradoxically surprises no-one involved in the defence of the Mapuches who were convicted of the incendiary attacks under the anti-terrorist law: it simply confirms what has been long visible on the ground.

In the context of the trial against Luis Marileo and Patricio Queipul in the 2009 case of the "Quino toll" in which both were tried under the anti-terrorist law despite being under 18 years old, Raúl Castro Antipán, a protected prosecution witness, confessed to his participation in incendiary attacks in the Araucanía region, as well as a series of other crimes.

"Castro Antipán told the judges that he had been infiltrated by the Carabineros in the Mapuche movement and whilst there he had committed crimes such as illegally bearing weapons, incendiary attacks and an attack on a toll", affirmed Luis García Huidobro. All this was part of a police intelligence operation which commenced in 2009.

The informant

"This person approached the Carabineros, or the Carabineros approached him and he began to hand over information in exchange for help in a case he had in Coyhaique. In this way he started to get involved, and they teach him intelligence techniques to enable him to infiltrate into the communities", affirmed Sebastián Saavedra, lawyer for the Centre of Investigation and Defence SUR and one of the defence team for Luis Marileo y Patricio Queipul.

"Raúl Castro Antipán was recruited as an informant of the Carabineros while he was a young student activist linked to some pro mapuche groups. He would end up as a civilian infiltrator within some of the organizations or movements here in the South. Clearly he was selected to carry out this role because there were legal cases pending against him, I believe for robbery, and this was used by police intelligence to offer him another way out by providing help and co-operation as an informant of the police", added journalist and writer Pedro Cayuqueo.

It was Castro Antipán himself who admitted publicly his participation in the "Tur Bus case" and the case of the "Quino toll" which took place in July and October of 2009 respectively.

As a result of his testimony as a protected prosecution witness, 30 members of the Mapuche community have been imprisoned and later released between 2009 and today, including Patricio Queipul and Luis Marileo.

"The statement of this person was made in secret, these people were in preventive detention without knowing the specific basis for which they had been imprisoned. When the defence became aware of this, we argued that he was a defendant and not a witness and that therefore his name should not be withheld. We then learned of his identity and criminal background. From that moment on, the members of the community began to be released because of the poor quality of the evidence against them, that being the statement of this man. Until that time, we only knew that he was a defendant who had taken advantage of the special "compensated disclosure" provision contained in the anti-terrorist law. Only during the trial did we learn that he was in contact with the Carabineros and that he was supported by and ordered by them to infiltrate into the communities" advised this lawyer.

Due Process

Luis Marileo and Patricio Queipul are members of the communities of Cacique José Guiñón y Temucuicui Autónoma, recognised for their struggle to recover their lands.

Although seven adults accused in the case of the "Quino toll" were released, both adolescents faced prison sentences for a crime which this Wednesday, the Criminal Trial Court of Angol confirmed they did not commit.

"Luis Marileo was under provisional detention and Patricio Queipul, when he learned of the warrant for his arrest in this case, did not leave his community, so he was only formally accused of this crime in 2011" stated his defence lawyer.

Notwithstanding that the anti-terrorist law cannot be used against minors under18 years of age, both adolescents were tried under its ambit. This Wednesday they were acquitted, as a result of which Sebastián Saavedra stated "once we have studied the background to this, we will assess the possibility of suing the State for violation of the minimum guarantees of due process".

"It should be remembered that they were minors at the time that this infiltrator gave his statement. If you consider the history of the law of juvenile criminal responsibility, passed in 2005, you will see that a juvenile has never been tried by a different specific law, and certainly not by the anti-terrorist law which is the most serious in our legal system" , he pointed out.

The lawyer stressed the lack of legal rigour provided by the anti-terrorist law, saying "In my pleadings I asked the ministers what would happen if one day someone took advantage of this protection and attributed responsibility to one of us? Are we going to go to prison as the result of one testimony alone, without any other kind of evidence? Another comparison is: what would have happened if this person incriminated President Sebastián Piñera? ┐Would it occur to anyone to put the President in preventive detention because of such a statement? That is impossible and it is serious discrimination against the members of this community that as a result of being a member of a community in conflict, the first statement of someone with criminal history, and who has been infiltrated by the Carabineros, is enough to put them in preventive imprisonment for almost a year".

The journalist Pedro Cayuqueo agrees with this analysis: "What we have here is a violation of due process, an olympian gymnastic exercise by the prosecutors to distort the lay and use it to their own benefit in order to obtain convictions against leaders who, in many cases, have no particular responsibility in acts of violence. This highlights the clear political connection in the use of this law, a fact which has been widely questioned and not only in Chile".

The Prosecutor's Office of the region of La Araucanía denied that Raúl Castro Antipán was an informant of the institution. "This is a formally indicted defendant, charged and convicted" asserted the prosecutor of Temuco, Roberto Garrido.

Nevertheless, his connection with the Carabineros was not denied.

[Source: By Oriana Miranda, Diario Universidad de Chile, 13Feb14. Translation into English from the original Spanish version carried out by Equipo Nizkor on 20Feb14]

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