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Chilean police in court after the death of a young Mapuche activist
Mapuches protesters and human rights defenders demonstrated in Santiago on 15 November after the death of Camillo Catrillanca, 24, shot dead during a police operation in an indigenous community in the region of Araucania. MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP

Camilo Catrillanca is a young Mapuche, 24 years old. He drives a blue tractor, accompanied by another 14-year-old Mapuche. While Camilo Catrillanca is disarmed, a group of policemen block his way and then shoot him. The young man receives a bullet in the back of the neck and passes a few minutes later. It shows three videos from November 14, 2018 and released a month later by a Chilean investigative media, the Center for Investigation and Journalistic Information (Ciper). The films quickly became viral.

Two hours after the death of the young man, the Chilean police had published a report in which she had supported the thesis of a  " confrontation" during a special operation of the forces of the order. A version taken over by the government.

On Friday, 9 August, seven policemen who took part in the police operation and were removed from office were to be heard by the court in Collipulli, Araucanía, a forested region in the south of the country. country where the majority of Mapuche Indians live. These hearings aim to prepare the trial of the murder of Camilo Catrillanca, whose date is for the unknown hour. The charges have not yet been determined.

Cristián Inostroza, the lawyer of the special police operations group (GOPE), the police special forces, which includes the commando team on 14 November, must also appear, accused of "Concealment of evidence".

"We gave false statements"

On December 2, 2018, while he had been in detention for six days, Camilo Catrillanca's deadly gunman, Carlos Alarcon, had published a video on the networks. in which he accused his superiors ⠀ "including the former chief of the special forces Manuel Valdivieso and Me Cristián Inostroza ⠀ "to have him lie in his first stance. "We gave false statements," he defied in the video.

Auditioned the next day, following the publication of his video, Carlos Alarcon acknowledges that Camilo Catrillanca and the young man who accompanied him were disarmed. On the morning of the young man's death, a theft of three vehicles was declared in the Temucuicui rural school in Ercilla, a municipality in Araucania. An impressive police device was then deployed to pursue the alleged thieves â € "a helicopter and twenty vehicles.

Suspected of being one of the thieves, Camilo Catrillanca was chased while driving a tractor. Mr Alarcon claims to have given him the order to stop. According to him, the young man would not have obeyed. The officer then shot and hit him accidentally. Â «Lâ € ™ ADRA © Naline (Â € |) I pushed to go further than was necessary ", Sa € ™ he apologizes.

As early as the next day, protesters in several cities across the country had demanded that light be shed on the young man's death. Two days after the publication of the video by the Ciper, on December 21, 2018, the Chilean president, Sebastián Piñera, had been forced to release his functions the general Hermes Soto, chief of the police. The general had stated that there was no video of the police operation in which Camilo Catrillanca had lost his life.

The police's lawyer, Javier Jara, declared the day after the publication of the videos that he had not been there.  € œIntention of homicideâ € since Camilo Catrillanca had not been "Riddled with balls". He also believed that the bullet had  " bounced" on the tractor. A version overturned by the ballistics report of the criminal police, who dares that the bullet was able "Take a turn of 90 degrees".

Police plunged into institutional crisis

Consuelo Contreras, president of the National Institute of Human Rights (INDH), is categorical: "There was not a single bullet on the tractor, but twenty-three. During the operation, the police exchanged the rubber bullets for real bullets and the shooters were professionals. AT"

Since these revelations, the police are plunged into an institutional crisis. The "Comando Jungle" which the incriminated police officers in the Catrillanca case were part of, is particularly criticized. This commando of the GOPE, which has trained in Colombia in the fight against terrorism, is deployed exclusively in what is commonly called the zone. Â "Â red" of Araucania, for the regular conflicts that take place there between the forces of the order and the Mapuche.

The latter, who consider that their lands, exploited by private forest companies in the region, have been usurped, regularly take actions there to to recover them. Qualified actions "Terrorist acts" by President Piérara. By the age of 17, Camilo Catrillanca had been at the helm of these operations in the municipality of Ercilla. He had organized the occupation of his high school. Son of a lonco, Mapuche chief, he was from an influential family in the indigenous community.

His father, himself an active militant of the Mapuche cause, considers that Camilo was killed as a result. The main objective of the police, he argues, "It was murdering someone from Temucuicui," area of ​​Auracania particularly engaged in land reclamation.

This is not the first time that Special Forces personnel have been prosecuted by the courts. In September 2017, the Supreme Court launched a lawsuit against police officers "Manipulation of evidence" Following the detention of eight "Mapuche" leaders accused of participating in arson. The police had provided as evidence WhatsApp conversations which she said justified "A preventive action". But it turned out that the conversations had been manipulated.

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