A Chilean court from Temuco Friday granted parole to Mapuche leader Facundo Jones-Huala, who was serving a prison sentence for the burning of a house and also for possessing firearms.
A ruling by Justices Carlos Gutiérrez Zavala and Luz Mónica Arancivia Mena of the Temuco Court of Appeals agreed to the petition filed by Jones-Huala's defense attorneys Karina Riquelme and Patricia Cuevas Suárez Jan. 11.
Following Friday's decision, it remains to be seen whether Jones-Huala will return to Argentina, a country of which he is a national athough he does not recognize governments other than those of Mapuche origin.
Riquelme and Cuevas Suárez remined the Court that the Bariloche-born Jones-Huala met the legal requirements established in Decree Law No. 321 and its Regulations, for which he was eligible for parole, despite which it was not granted to him back in October.
Jones Huala was sentenced to 9 years in prison (later reduced to 6) for the burning of an inhabited farm and for illegal possession of a firearm, in 2013. He has been detained since Dec. 22, 2018 and the sentence was to span until June 26, 2024. Jones-Huala has already served the minimum time required to be granted an early release.
In granting parole, the Court of Appeals reviewed a psychosocial report on Jones-Huala and found that there is evidence that allows [us] to conclude compliance with the legal assumptions, since the alleged offense committed by Jones Huala in prison was annulled and there is no reproach for the very good behavior of the protected person.
He also admitted that the lawyers highlighted that Jones Huala has a support network and his social reinsertion will take place in the context of his cultural reality within the Mapuche people.
Argentine Ambassador to Santiago Rafel Bielsa has even spoken before the Courts on behalf of Jones Huala.
While in prison, Jones-Huala has attended school - first and second year of high school. He could not continue to pursue his studies due to the COVID-19 pandemic although he had signed up for it.
The court also highlighted Jones-Huala's position of Traditional Authority among the Mapuche People, where he is a lonco (chief). While incarcerated he has also worked as a goldsmith.
Last year, the Parole Commission denied his parole request citing Jones Huala did not accept any psychosocial assistance and went to school only to be eligible for parole but then dropped out, and that he did not participate in social reinsertion actions.
That report also said Jones-Huala avoided talking about the facts for which he was convicted and at the same time he justified and minimized them. The document also highlighted the lonco's skills to manipulate others.