translated from Spanish: “No political prisoners in Chile”: HRW director rejected draft pardon of detainees from social outburst

Human Rights Watch (HRW) director José Miguel Vivanco brazenly disenced those arrested for the social outburst in Chile as political prisoners and considered it a “serious mistake” to offer them a generic pardon.
In an interview with T13, Vivanco said he does not believe that “there are circumstances that allow those who are detained for common crimes to be classified, in the context of protests, some serious crimes, as political prisoners.”
In that regard, he stated that “political prisoners are those who are in detention for exercising a basic right, such as the right to freedom of expression (…) and that’s why they’re persecuted and imprisoned,” so he said that “offering them a generic pardon is unnecessary, it’s a serious mistake. There is no clear legal justification for such an offer.”
Vivanco stated that “it would not differ from those who protest peacefully from those who do so violently and have committed crimes, in some cases serious crimes. I think if there are any due process problems, those need to be examined on a case-by-case basis.”
The director of HRW supplemented this view in an interview with the newspaper El Mercurio, which he noted that “there are no political prisoners in Chile”, and while confirming that during the social outburst, Carabineros committed “very serious human rights violations,” he argued that “I do not think it is necessary or appropriate to grant generic pardons to those who have committed common crimes , many of them very serious, during the protests.”
On Wednesday, the Senate Public Security Commission approved the idea of legislating the bill granting a pardon to detainees in the context of the social outburst. The initiative garnered three votes for and two against, after which it will now be reviewed in the Constitution Committee.

Original source in Spanish

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