A Chilean court has issued house arrest for Mapuche leader Francisca Linconao Monday, just days ahead of Pope Francis' visit to the Southern city of Temuco.
According to the court order, which came after the Court of Appeals ordered a re-trial in the Luchsinger-Mackay case, Linconao must be under heavy police guard between the hours of 20:00 and 08:00.
"Justice will always be applied differently to Mapuche people," said Ingrid Conejeros, a spokeswoman for the Linconao after the hearing.
"In this case, the precautionary measures will always be terrible for our people."
Linconao, one of the 11 Mapuche community previously acquitted for a 2013 double homicide of Wener Luchsinger and Vivianne Mackay, fled to Bolivia in search of asylum from president Evo Morales.
Despite her impending February court date, the Mapuche woman took advantage of her last month of freedom to petition international intervention, denouncing the case as unfair.
Linconao and eight of her community were held in pretrial detention until November for allegedly killing Luchsinger and Mackay in their home on Jan. 4, 2013, following a demonstration commemorating the 5th anniversary of the death of Mapuche activist Matias Catrileo.
The Chilean Criminal Court acquitted the indigenous community members on November 14 for insufficient evidence.
Linconao is a Machi, or traditional healer and leader figure within the Mapuche. “I was given the healing gift for helping people, not for doing things like the Luchsinger-Mackay case.”
After a decision by the Court of Appeals of Temuco to annul the trial that absolved the four Mapuche community members in the Luchsinger case, the spiritual leader traveled to Bolivia to ask for international support.
Despite the January order, Linconao maintained she was not under any restrictions when she travelled and was not fleeing the country.
"I'm just on vacation. I didn't come here asking the [Bolivian] government for help, as the Chilean press is saying," said Linconao in an interview.
"I am an innocent person, I am not afraid to face justice."
Linconao also had words ahead of the Pope Francis' visit to Araucania region, stating that she expects the Pontiff to receive her to "tell him everything that is happening here with the Mapuche people."
Despite the previous acquittal, Jorge Luchsinger MacKay, the son of the murdered couple, contested the court’s ruling in December, requesting the Court of Appeals annul the acquittal and reopen the investigation.
Linconao, a Machi renowned for her defense of native forests, criticized Chilean authorities for reopening the case, reminding the court that she had already been declared innocent.
"The rich people have justice because they have money, they buy it from the judges, and that's why they are doing this; it's very unfair," said Linconao.
In 2008, Linconao won a trial claiming Mapuche rights over a territory using the Convention C169 of the International Labour Organization, which recognizes the right of all indigenous and tribal peoples of the world to “exercise control over their own institutions, ways of life and economic development and to maintain and develop their identities, languages and religions.”
“I'm the first Machi to use that law and I won the trial against a millionaire land-owner. Since then, every land-owner, every rich person, is mad at me, but they don't tell me that up front.” said Linconao in the interview.