June 18, 2009

Chilean Military Justice evaluates giving immunity to the killer of Matías Catrileo.

ONCE AGAIN THE DECISION HAS BEEN POSTPONED FOR THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2009. The Military Court will that day decide if the process initiated by the Military Prosecutor of Temuco will indeed go forward for "unnesesary violence causing death," against police officer, Walter Ramírez, whom perpetrated the shot that killed Weichafe [Warrior] Matías Catrileo.

On the mourning of January 3rd, 2008, a group of Mapuche community members from Lof Yeupeko-Fillkun gathered at the Santa Margarita estate, Mapuche territory usurped by the Luchsingers, a landowner family in the Cautín region. The estate police, without provocation, opened fire against the Mapuche who fled from the deadly shooting.

One of the bullets entered through the back of Weichafe [Warrior] Matías Catrileo, killing him on the spot. The media came out in defence of the murderers, inventing a supposed armed confrontation, where Chilean National Police used their machine guns in “self-defence.”

No one would believe it. The Peñi [brothers] were armed only with their decision to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. Moreover, despite the cowardly statements, no one could deny the fact that the bullet hit Matías in the back. Neither could they hide that it was the Police Officer, Walter Ramírez who carried out the shot with his firearm on behalf of the landowners.


More than a year after the process against the murderer began in the Military Prosecutor’s Office in Temuco, an application to abandon proceedings arrived at the Military Appeals Court in Santiago, presented by the defence. With this, they seek to drop all charges against the officer and completely close the cases.

Attorney Gaspar Calderón, defence for Walter Ramírez, confirmed that the Military Appeals Court would pronounce itself on his petition for impunity at the beginning of June. He further signalled that they agreed that the officer had “carried out a judicial order and acted in legitimate defence.”
To this day, Walter Ramírez continues his normal work as a police officer; the only change instituted after the killing, was to move him from Araucanía Region to another undisclosed location for his safety.

The officers responsible for the deaths of Alex Lemún and forestry operator Rodrigo Cisterna are enjoying the same treatment today, who have been congratulated for their acts, and have been promoted within the police institution.

País Mapuche

Distributed by: The Women’s Coordinating Committee Chile-Canada

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