Sergio Maldonado, the brother of disappeared Argentine activist Santiago Maldonado, said the only realistic theory explaining the case is that he was “taken by police.”
Santiago disappeared on August 1 during a protest led by Indigenous Mapuche in Cushamen, where they demanded that the government return their land, which was given to the multinational Benetton Group company.
“Like we said at the beginning, the only hypothesis is that the police took Santiago,” Sergio said during an interview with La Nacion.
Matias Santana, a member of Cushamen’s Mapuche community, also claimed police detained Santiago during the protest. Santana added that he was able to identify Santiago being detained because he was wearing a jacket that he lent him prior to the protest.
“I saw with binoculars how police took Santiago. What I saw was that three officers hit someone in light blue, which I recognized because it was my jacket,” Santana said.
“The body had no movement. It looked as if he was dead.”
Sergio criticized theories put forth by authorities claiming that the activist faked his own death or that he was hiding from police. He maintains that his brother is alive.
“I want to believe he is, it is the hope that I have, there are times when I don't think so, but I feel him with me all the time,” Sergio said.
He added that he spoke with Mapuche protesters who were arrested on Aug. 1 and believe police want to keep the case buried.
“They did nothing to find Santiago, from the beginning.”