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Eleventh Hour for Mapuche Political Prisoners

Tuesday 11th December 2007

Six Mapuche political prisoners are fighting for their lives after 62 days on hunger strike. Human rights groups worldwide are urgently pleading with the Chilean government for their release, but it is having little effect.

The prisoners Jaime Marileo, Patricia Troncoso, Juan Millalen, Héctor LLaitul and Jose Huenchunao have been on a hunger strike since the 10 th of October 2007. Their stated objectives are:

  1. Freedom for all the Mapuche Political Prisoners incarcerated by the Chilean State .

  2. The demilitarization of the zones in conflict and an end to the repression against Mapuche communities.

Another political prisoner, Waikilaf Cadin Calfunao, is currently being held in a high security prison in Santiago. He too is on hunger strike.

The latest medical report from Angol Jail issued on the Saturday 8 th December 2007 outlines the severe consequences of this particular form of protest. The political leaders are currently in a state of critical ill-health. Their symptoms include: dizziness, weakness, cramps, irregular heartbeats, anxiety attacks, disorientation, speaking difficulties, and massive loss of weight (13 - 20kg in general). In addition to this, prisoner Patricia Troncoso, the only woman on hunger strike, is also suffering muscular contraction of the cervical region. These diagnoses were issued by the Medical Practitioner Tania Muñoz Espina, and Private Practitioner Germán Bass del Campo.

The Chilean government shows no concern for the health of the people whose campaign for the recognition of their fundamental rights has been regarded as "terrorism". Meanwhile, the Mapuche prisoners have been on hunger strike for 62 days and their health is in a dangerous condition. If their last, desperate protest continues to go ignored by their government, this whole situation could end in tragedy. These men and women would not be considered terrorists under any EU government law, nor would they be by any individual who understands the basic human right to freedom and dignity.

The Chilean media is shamefully censuring the plight of the Mapuche people, for reasons of self-interest. Economic and political benefits are keeping the Mapuche efficiently suppressed; it would not do well for the media to publicise the Mapuche's protests concerning the restitution of ancestral land, when that land is currently producing a lot of profit for large companies, such as the forestry industry.

We urgently request support in placing pressure on the Chilean government, in an effort to persuade them to release these protestors and save their lives.

Please contact Mapuche International Link for further information.

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