Alleged Chilean terrorist Sergio Galvarino Apablaza is to remain free while the Argentine government decides whether or not he will be extradited to Chile or if he will be granted political asylum.
However in the meantime he will be forbidden from leaving the country and must appear before the Judiciary weekly, according to a Tuesday decision from Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio.
The former guerrilla, member of the Frente Patriótico Manuel Rodríguez (FPMR), has been accused in Chile of murdering right-wing senator Jaime Guzmán, of the Independent Democratic Union party, and of the kidnapping of journalistic entrepreneur Christian Edwards.
Both cases occurred in 1991, more than a year after the end of General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship, and during the presidency of Patricio Aylwin, who took office after democratic elections were held in March of 1990.
Apablaza's lawyer, Rodolfo Yanzón, said that in Chile there is no possibility of his client's rights being respected.
In the meantime, Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman said in radio declarations that the issue requires serenity in order for it to be analyzed because relations are currently excellent; there is a very good relationship with President Sebastián Piñera and constant dialogue with Chile.
The Argentine Supreme Court of Justice authorized last week the extradition of Apablaza to Chile, due to the fact that the crimes for which he is accused are foreign to the traditional notion of political crime, although the Executive branch has the option of conceding him the category of political refugee.
Argentina’s Refugee Eligibility Committee (Cepare), which depends on the Interior Ministry, has been analyzing this issue since 2004 after a request made by Apablaza himself.
Piñera requested President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to extradite the former guerrilla fighter, something the Argentine government has yet to decide, although the opposition is pressuring for Apablaza to be judged in his country.
In Santiago leaders of the pro-government Independent Democratic Union party assured that if the Argentine government refuses to extradite Apablaza Guerra, it would be a grave offence to the rule of law in Chile, and that it would affect the bilateral relationship.
Senator Jovino Novoa said that ”the Argentine government has no other alternative (than to approve the extradition) after the Supreme Court's ruling, and any other decision it takes, in my perspective, would be a grave offence to the rule of law in our country.
He added that if the extradition is rejected, the only possible interpretation is that, according to the Argentine government, Chile does not offer guarantees for the judging of people and that, obviously, would be a serious situation that affects relations between both countries.”