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  • A member of security forces aims his weapon during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile October 23, 2019.

    A member of security forces aims his weapon during a protest against Chile's state economic model in Santiago, Chile October 23, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 23 October 2019

The investigation is set to take 120 days, including a ballistic examination and an autopsy.

The Chilean National Prosecutor’s Office reported Tuesday the indictment and preventive detention of a military officer over the charge of the homicide of a protester on Sunday during a protest in the northern city of Coquimbo.

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The Ministry of the Interior and Public Security said in a statement that the victim is one of 15 people killed since the protests started in the South American country on Oct. 18. 

“A homicide took place on Oct. 20 at night, when a first corporal from the army was patrolling the streets of Bilbao and Pinto in Coquimbo, and allegedly fired a shot at the victim, who later died at the San Pablo hospital,” it read.

The suspect was arrested but his identity has not been revealed yet. The prosecutor’s office asked to extend his detention while the investigation was being carried out, but as the court refused, as they decided to charge him. The investigation is set to take 120 days, including a ballistic examination and an autopsy.

The military officer's detention was based on video footage showing the army patrol along with the time of the shooting, stated the prosecutor’s office, as well as witness statements and emergency services information.

The National Institute of Human Rights in Chile (INDH) has confirmed Wednesday that they have received cases of possible torture at the hands of the authorities amid protests that began against public transport fare hikes but have extended into an uprising against President Piñera’s neoliberal policies. 

According to the INDH,  these deaths were the result of shots fired by soldiers, blows to the skull and thorax and for being hit by military vehicles. There has even been evidence of sexual abuse carried against arrested protesters.

The city of Coquimbo has been under a state of emergency with curfews imposed since Sunday morning.

These measures have been taken in almost all regions of the country and the armed forces have been with ensuring public order.

The price rise of the subway tickets in Santiago sparked a wave of protests, summing with the discontent against high prices of electricity or gas services, the failing pension system, and poor public health services, provoking an unprecedented social movement in the recent history of Chile.

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