Mapuches in Hunger Strike Refuse Force Feeding

Santiago de Chile, Oct 16 (Prensa Latina) The four Mapuche prisoners on hunger strike rejected attempts today by authorities to force-feed them and promised that if necessary they will sew their mouth. In a brief statement issued after going 51 days without food, inmates promised to continue without stopping, no matter the consequences. “We know it is very risky healthwise, but we will give our lives if necessary. If they force-feed us we will sew our mouths shut,” they said. The prisoners pointed out that they are not only fighting for their freedom, but also for their territory, as all peoples do. Erick and Rodrigo Montoya, as well as Paulino and Daniel Levipan stopped eating on August 27, demanding that the Supreme Court review their sentences. The latter two were sentenced to 10 years and one day in prison for the crime of attempted murder of police agents on duty, plus 541 days in prison for illegal weapons possession. In addition to the review of their case and the annulment of their sentences, with their strike, the inmates are demanding an end to protected witnesses and an end to the political-judicial montages against Mapuches. “We also demand the immediate demilitarization of Mapuche territory, no more torture of children, women and elderly in raids on communities and we demand the release of all political prisoners of that ethnicity,” they said.

In an interview on Tuesday with the 24 hour TVN program, Senator Eugenio Tuma said that these sentences are a reflection of the injustices perpetrated against the Mapuche people. “They have been in prison for 12 years when they did not so much as scratch anyone, while those who caused the death of young Mapuche are free, so there should be an explanation and the court should make a mea culpa, to correct it,” said the legislator, a member of the Party for Democracy.

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