Chile: Report on Tortuga’s prison conditions


Posted on March 19, 2012

from vivalaanarquia, translated by waronsociety:

Three months ago we visited Luciano Pitronello, accused for the failed placement of an explosive device on June 1, 2011 at a Santander Bank branch located at Vicuña Mackenna 1347. Luciano was in this place with multiple severe wounds on his body, loss of vision in one of his eyes, for which he was submitted to a cornea transplant operation and mild hearing loss, along with 33% of his body burned, and as a result of the burns they had to amputate one of his hands. He was charged for two crimes: Terrorist placement of an explosive device, punishable under Article 2, number 4 in relation to the 1st Article of the “Law On Terrorist Conduct” (18.314) and use of false liscence plate or one corresponding to another vehicle, punishable under Article 192, letter E of the “Transit Law” (18.290).

After a minor recovery, he was left in preventive prison for being considered a danger to society. Due to his multiple wounds, he is in the Hospital of Santiago 1 Prison: Luciano’s prison conditions are those of constant harassment and isolation. His regimen consists of 24 hours of confinement in a room with 3 beds, moreover, he does not have access to television or newspapers, he must use a suit that helps with the healing of the burns 24 hours a day, he can only remove it in order to bathe, although he can remove the suit alone, he requires help to put it on. This function, which should be carried out by the medics, is unfulfilled; therefore Luciano must request the help of the prisoners when he’s in a room with company. Other times, he simply must do without his suit (as has happened at least 5 times).

At this time, Luciano is without the suit, because the prison guards burned it by putting it in the prison’s dryer, a situation that is still not resolved nor indemnified. Another part of his treatment is that every day his entire body be moisturized with rosehip. Which really happens every 2 or 3 days at the discretion of the medics. Luciano uses a prosthesis on his right arm, which should be washed carefully in order to not damage the mechanical system within it. Nevertheless, the times that he has solicited them to wash the prosthesis, they have done it by putting it entirely under water, ruining the mechanical system; thus resulting in Luciano’s greater dependency on the poor discretion of the medics, since now it needs to be constantly oiled, a situation that is likewise not taken care of promptly. Another problem that remains with Luciano in prison is that the prison shower works with a switch which upon being pressed dispenses water for an interval of a few seconds, making it necessary to constantly press it. Since Luciano does not have one of his hands and some of his fingers were amputated from the other, he is not able to carry out this activity alone, nevertheless since there is not continual assistance from the medics, it remains only on him to get them to be able to shower, some of the Santiago 1 Prison Hospital’s room have showers in better condition, so it depends on which room Luciano is in.

While we know that these conditions repeat themselves in various cases within the prisons, we denounce this situation because we have touched it directly for long enough. Our idea is not to present a morbid story, nor to cause grief, but rather to show that although the press and the State say that prisoners have rights, that is a just an empty expression that they use to degrade them more and more, and to validate the existence of prisons in which the State ensures that thousands of people live in appalling conditions.

It is not just overcrowding, as the television shows us when they remember that prisoners exist. It is not just the restraining of a prisoner’s freedom: the isolation, the constant humiliation of the family, the irresponsibility in medical assistance, the denial of communication, the physical and psychological violence on the part of the guards, are the materials with which the Prison is constructed. At times it might seem that the world’s prisoners are invisible, it is for this reason that those who are outside the gates must make them visible, since each time that we remember them with an action, a denunciation or a gesture of solidarity, we demonstrate that they are not alone.


Pikete Jurídico

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