24 09 2010 From Hommodolars Contrainformación (September 22, 2010) via CALPU (September 17, 2010):
Conviction requires Mapuche sympathizer to leave country despite all evidence pointing to political set-up
By Hedoi Etxarte
On December 31, 2009, Basque writer/translator Asel Luzarraga was arrested in Chile at his home in Padre de Las Casas. At the time, he was accused of four attacks carried out between December 2008 and December 2009. From the beginning, Luzarraga denied any connection to the attacks. In fact, his passport showed that he was out of the country on the dates of two of the attacks. Nevertheless, Judge Alejandra García sentenced him to preventive detention for the duration of the investigation.
Then the charges were modified: The Prosecutor’s office stopped investigating Luzarraga as the perpetrator and instead charged him with possession of explosive material. Found in his home—without a single fingerprint—were an empty fire extinguisher, less than ten grams of black powder, a fuse, and adhesive tape. Luzarraga spent forty-two days in preventive detention and was under house arrest until his sentencing at trial on September 7. The following day, according to regional newspaper El Austral, Cautín governor Miguel Mellado said that he would be appealing “to the International Police to take this character and drop him off at the airport so he can leave the country.” Based on his statement, it’s clear that Luzarraga’s prison sentence was symbolic and that the ultimate objective was to deny the renewal of his residence permit.
Luzarraga will have to leave Chile by September 22, fifteen days after sentencing. In determining the sentence, the judges considered the chemical evidence submitted on behalf of the defense by Analab and Temuco Catholic University to be insufficient.
Police also confirmed the detection of nitrate ions at Luzarraga’s home. Their evidence indicated the presence of nitrate ions in the city water supply, especially in the water and shampoo at Luzarraga’s home. According to a statement made by Luzarraga’s attorney Jaime Madariaga to the Autonomous University of Chile television station, that “explains why they found nitrate ions on his back.” In the same statement to the media, Madariaga added that the data invalidated what “the Attorney General’s office had made the public believe.” The Prosecutor’s office was also unable to explain the absence of fingerprints on the material seized from Luzarraga’s home.
El Austral took the defense attorney’s statement after sentencing: “It’s hard to feel satisfied when you know an innocent man has been convicted, but he certainly won’t have to go to prison, and that’s without doubt a relief to us.” He added: “As a society we are even weaker, because any one of us can be the victim of someone who leaves a bag containing drugs or a fire extinguisher at our house, and then be convicted regardless of the absence of any fingerprints, e-mail, or anything.”
In the Basque newspaper Deia, Luzarraga maintained his certitude that neither he, his girlfriend, nor anyone who knows them could have left behind the empty fire extinguisher, fuses, and black powder that were found at his home. He reiterated how strange it was that there were no fingerprints and that the supermarket bag containing everything was missing. The writer had no hesitation in saying that it was all a set-up designed to persecute him politically.