Argentina will seek a friendly settlement with Chile regarding the long-standing bilateral conflict over the extradition of Galvarino Apablaza before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Apablaza is accused of involvement in the murder of a conservative Senator and kidnapping of a newspaper executive.
The move by President Mauricio Macri’s administration looks to be a dramatic shift in respect of the previous government, which granted asylum to the former far left-wing leader.
“This is a positive decision,” Chile’s Foreign Affairs Under-Secretary Edgardo Riveros celebrated yesterday.
For more than a decade Chile has been requesting the extradition of Apablaza — a former Communist Party (PC) activists and one of the founders of the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Movement (FPMR) under charges of being involved in the murder of conservative senator Jaime Guzmán, an ally of late dictator Augusto Pinochet. The Chilean courts also want to investigate his alleged role in the kidnapping of the El Mercurio newspaper executive Jorge Edwards in 1991.
On September 14, 2010, the Argentine Supreme Court overturned a first instance ruling by Claudio Bonadío and ordered the extradition of the former leader of the FPMR political group, so that he could be taken back to Chile to face the court. Days after the Supreme Court ruling, the National Commission of Refugees (Conare) granted Apablaza refugee status, which suspended the expulsion process.
In 2012, Guzmán’s family members brought the case before the IACHR, which last year took the case under consideration and set February 23 as the deadline for the Argentine authorities. Earlier this month, Administrative Judge Ernesto Martinelli ruled that Chile had the right to contest Apablaza Guerra’s political asylum status that had been granted during Cristina Fernandez' administration.
Last month, Argentine Vice-President Gabriela Michetti put Apablaza back on the agenda during a visit to Chile.
“The idea is — if there isn’t any inconvenience in Argentine judicial terms — to carry out the extradition,” the vice-president said after meeting with Bachelet in Chile last month.