VALDIVIA – Facundo Jones Huala, the Mapuche leader who was extradited from Argentina to Chile on Tuesday afternoon, has gone on hunger strike upon his arrival. The indigenous chief is being accused of arson back in 2013. The UN Human Rights committee advised Argentina earlier not to extradite Jones Huala, out of fear for not receiving a fair trial.
Facundo Jones Huala, has been accused of taking part in an attack on Pisu Pisué back in January 2013. The court of Valdivia accuses him of being part of six people, who all carried hand-made firearms and set fire to an inhabited place. Although there was only material damage, and no one got harmed in this case, Jonas Huala fled to Argentina, where he got arrested.
Ever since, the Chilean government has been asking for extradition, something the UN Human Rights Committee advised against, out of fear for possible human rights violations. Mapuche people who stand trial in Chile are often being detained without hearing the accusations or receiving a fair trial, an Amnesty International report showed before. Also, the fact that the Chilean government is using its ´Anti-Terrorism Law´ to prosecute Mapuche people, worries international rights organizations. The law, that dates back from the dictatorship under Pinochet, gives the government and the judicial power the freedom of defining ´terrorism´ themselves.
Arson attacks in the south of Chile
The south of Chile, which originally belonged to the Mapuche people, until the so-called ´Pacification of Auracanía´, has been suffering under arson attacks from people linked to Mapuche resistance movements for decades. While casualties are rare, the Chilean government takes these attacks, aimed mostly on trucks and machinery belonging to forestal companies, very seriously. Raids on Mapuche communities are common and numerous Mapuche leaders are currently in jail, awaiting trial.
Out of protest for his extradition, the Facundo Jones Huala, a so-called lonko or chief within the Mapuche community, went on hung strike. He will stand trial in Valdivia.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.