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  • The Mapuche Indigenous group has been discriminated against in both Argentina and Chile.

    The Mapuche Indigenous group has been discriminated against in both Argentina and Chile. | Photo: EFE

Published 11 September 2018

Despite requests by the United Nations Human Rights Committee to postpone the trial, the Lonko, or Indigenous chief, was extradited by Argentine Federal Police.

Mapuche leader Facundo Jones Huala is being detained in Santiago, Chile where he will be brought to a Valdivia court later this week on charges of arson and public incitement.

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Despite requests from the United Nations Human Rights Committee to postpone the trial, the Lonko, or Indigenous chief, was extradited by Argentine Federal Police Tuesday evening after being held for 13 months.

“The measure was prepared by President Macri and endorsed by Neuquen federal judge Dr. Villanueva,” said Federal Police Director Nestor Roncaglia.

According to reports, Jones participated in a raid on a farm in 2013, assisted in setting fire to the property and was found in possession of a firearm. Six others were arrested, but later released for lack of evidence.

However, Jones and Machi Millaray Huichalaf escaped to Argentina shortly after the incident and refused to respond to the Chilean court summons.

Jones’ family is “desperately trying to get a lawyer in Mendoza to stop the transfer to Santiago, Chile,” La Nacion reports.

The detainee's former defense attorney, Sonia Ivanoff, confirmed her client's departure at about 5:20 p.m, although she said she was neither notified nor allowed to communicate with the accused.

"I did not have access and evidently he was not allowed to call me either... the information they gave me is that they arrived in Mendoza where they documented the exchange and immediately took him to the international airport in Santiago, Chile," Ivanoff said.

The Mapuche Indigenous group has been discriminated against in both Argentina and Chile.

Living mainly in Chile’s Temuco region, Mapuche have been battling the government as they try to regain land lost during Chile's 19th-century expansion southward into Mapuche-held territory.

Meanwhile, in Argentina, territorial rights have fueled numerous movements and unjust state repression in the Patagonia region.

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