With interest and mobilizations inside Temuco prison, lonko Alberto Curamil has followed the development of social mobilizations in Chile for the past three weeks. The outbreak led to the momentary suspension of the trial against him, which was due to begin on Monday, October 21. Now, the process will begin this Wednesday 13th in the Oral Court in the Penal of Temuco.
Curamil, winner of the 2019 Goldman Award – the «green nobel» – for his active role in defending the Cautín River from threats from hydroelectric projects, has been in pre-trial detention in Temuco for more than a year. The prosecution accuses him of being part of the assault at the Los Héroes Compensation Fund in Galvarino in April 2018.
«My father and the other prisoners are happy that at last the Chilean people, after so many outrages, injustices and inequalities, dared to say enough, daring to face the model, the system, despite repression, militarization and criminalization of social protest,» says Belén Curamil, daughter of the lonko.
Regarding the human rights violation of recent weeks, Belén Curamil states that «what is happening is what the Mapuche people have been denouncing for decades, the persecution, criminalization of social protest, torture, murders. And not just this government, but all the previous ones.»
On October 29, more than 10,000 people were part of the Mapuche march in Temuco, which closed its journey in front of Temuco prison, demanding freedom for all political prisoners. That day, protesters tore down the statues of Pedro de Valdivia and Dagoberto Godoy, leaving the latter’s head in the hands of the statue of the Caupolican touch. A few days later, in Cañete, Lafkenche communities toppled the statues of Valdivia and García Hurtado de Mendoza, colonial symbols of the genocide against indigenous peoples.
Anonymous reporting is the main evidence against Curamil
After more than a year of investigation, the main evidence linking Alberto Curamil to the assault he is accused of is an anonymous call received by the Home Office’s Safe Reporting Program, which occurred on April 25, 2018, a day after the robbery. O. In that call, an anonymous person handed over details of the organization of the assault and said Alberto Curamil and Alvaro Millalen were involved.
At the crime scene, genetic traces were found, but none of them correspond to those of Curamil. For his lawyer Rodrigo Román, this is «a political persecution against the lonko Curamil that originates in the Ministry of the Interior».
Curamil is lonko of the Radalko lof and became known for being one of the main faces of the defense of the Cautín River against various hydroelectric projects that were attempted to install, which ended up being rejected by justice due to its environmental impact.
The four defendants in the cause of the assault in Galvarino – all Mapuche – risk decades in prison. The Prosecutor’s Office is calling for 46 years of ploy against the lonko, while the Chilean government, through the Intendencia de la Araucanía, a plainsman in the case, asks for 50 years in prison.
The trial will begin on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Oral Court in Lo Penal de Temuco, before Judges Juan Santana, Roberto Herrera and Wilfried Ziehlmann.