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News > Chile

Chileans Ask For Amnesty for Those Detained in 2019 Uprising

  • Citizens Citizens demand amnesty for those who protested against the Piñera administration, Chile, Aug. 11, 2021.

    Citizens Citizens demand amnesty for those who protested against the Piñera administration, Chile, Aug. 11, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @tomashirsch

Published 19 August 2021
Opinion

The National Center for Journalistic Research reported that two-thirds of the protesters who remain in pre-trial detention have no prior criminal record. 

On Wednesday, National Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners (NARPP) urged the Democracy Present party lawmakers to support the Amnesty Law bill, which seeks the release of at least 806 citizens arrested as a result of the protests of October 2019. 

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¨This bill is a gesture for peace since it recognizes the prisoners of the revolt as political subjects detained amid massive human rights violations,¨ the NARPP spokesperson Jaime Fuentes said, and added that the Amnesty Law bill seeks to forget the crimes to which the protesters were condemned. 

The Constitutional, Human Rights, and Security Senate Commissions have already approved the bill, which has to be ratified by the Senate Chamber with up to 22 votes to come into force. The relatives of the arrested citizens also called on President Sebastian Piñera not to prevent the implementation of the Amnesty law through a presidential veto or a complaint in the Constitutional Court. 

So far, 26 Chileans have so far been convicted for crimes associated with the unrest, and 51 citizens remain in pre-trial detention, 120 protesters are under house arrest, and 77 people remain in prison. 

Chile’s Center for Journalistic Research (CIPER) reported that two-thirds of the protesters who remain in pre-trial detention have no prior criminal record. They are still detained since the authorities modified the charges with which they were initially arrested.

Among the legal instruments used to keep them in prison are the Arms Control Act, Anti-Attack Act, and the State Internal Security Act, all of which increase penalties or require that a possible sentence be served under an alternative penalty.

Human rights defenders pointed out that there are incarcerated people who should never have been detained, and that this clearly shows that the Piñera administration has not adequately addressed the social unrest situation. 

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