COLLIPULLI – A Court of Appeals said the eight soldiers, all part of an army patrol, are a danger to the victims of the alleged torture. The eight were charged for torturing five Mapuche and issuing death threats in October last year. The event occurred in the southern town of Collipulli, in a neighborhood close to where recently a police officer was killed.
Eight soldiers must remain in custody for a host of charges, including torture. That is the decision of the Court of Appeals of Temuco, confirming the earlier ruling issued by the court in Collipulli. According to the higher court, the soldiers are a danger to society and the victims.
The crimes they are being charged with date from October 2020. The soldiers were patrolling in the Los Pinos neighborhood in the town of Collipulli in southern Chile. The patrol had stopped a vehicle with three men and two women of Mapuche origin for violating the pandemic-related curfew. But the events that allegedly followed involve the worst abuses of power.
Death Threats & Mock Executions
According to the court filing, the soldiers forced the Mapuche out of their car at gunpoint. They had to lie down and were tied up with plastic tie-wraps. The five Mapuche then were kicked and beaten by the soldiers, received racist insults and death threats. The vehicle’s windows were smashed and the tires punctured.
After the destruction of the vehicle, the Mapuche were forced to get onto the military truck and were taken to a forest some kilometers away. At the site, the five were ordered to get out of the truck and lie down face-on-the-ground. The soldiers sprayed an unknown liquid on them and one of them threatened to burn the Mapuche. For the military patrol, the abuse was not enough: still tied-up, the Mapuche had to sit in upright position while the soldiers carried out a mock execution.
Finally, the tie-wraps were cut from the wrists of the Mapuche, while they were forced to look down and not at the soldiers. Their cellphones were taken away and they were left, injured and traumatized, in the forest. How long the eight soldiers will remain in preventive custody is unknown.
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.