Mapuche Prisoners End Hungerstrike

by Gwynne Hogan, Santiago Times,Thursday, 25 October 2012

The four Mapuche prisoners have ended their hunger strike in Chile.

Four indigenous Mapuche prisoners who went without food for 60 days in southern Chile’s Angol Prison called off their fast on Thursday after a Supreme Court decision overturned two of their sentences.

Terminating their hunger strike also put an end to the suspense as to whether prison authorities would force feed them. A court decision last week gave prison guards the right to force feed the strikers, the prospect of which had human rights groups in Chile up in arms.
In August, Angol Criminal Court convicted two of the hunger strikers, Paulino Levipan and Daniel Levinao, of attempted murder of a police officer and possession of an unregistered firearm.  The Supreme Court overturned the attempted murder convictions Thursday but maintained the weapons charges.

The Court called for a retrial in Daniel Levinao’s case and lessened the conviction from attempted murder to assault in Levipan’s.
The other two hunger strikers, Eric and Rodrigo Montoya, are being held in preventative prison awaiting their trial, also for the charge of attempted murder of a police officer.

The group’s decision to call off the hunger strike could not have come soon enough, as the effects of such a long fast were nearing fatal.  Eric Montoya and Levipan were hospitalized  Tuesday morning after losing consciousness and having irregular heartbeats.
All four Mapuche prisoners were detained during police raids of their town Wente Winkul in southern Chile.  Their extensive hunger strike hoped to raise awareness for Mapuche demands for increased autonomy and territorial rights, as well as what they considered to be their unfair imprisonment.

Posted on October 26, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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