Argentine-born Mapuche leader Facundo Jones-Huala has been declared a fugitive by the Government of Chile after the Supreme Court overruled -albeit not unanimously- a decision from a Temuco court of appeals whereby he had been granted parole. Jones-Huala had already served the minimum time required to be granted an early release.
Jones Huala is now to return to serve the remainder of his sentence until June 26, 2024. He had been convicted for the burning of an inhabited farm and for illegal possession of a firearm in 2013.
“We have to find him, put him where he belongs, that he is deprived of liberty, so that he serves his sentence in our country. He is now a fugitive from Justice,”said the Undersecretary of the Interior Juan Francisco Galli in a radio interview.
“We value the ruling of the Supreme Court, which accepted the appeal presented by the Ministry of the Interior in the case of Facundo Jones Huala. He is condemned in our country for having taken out a family with children through a firearm and then having burned down a house,” Galli went on.
The leader of the Mapuche Ancestral Resistance (RAM) committed the crimes for which he was convicted in 2013, at the Pisu Pisué estate, in the Río Bueno commune, in the Los Ríos region.
Jones-Huala's whereabouts are unknown. There were rumors saying he had already crossed the border into his native Argentina, specifically to the Bariloche area where he was born and where he had announced he intended to resume his struggle for the Mapuche cause.
The administration of Chilean President Sebastián Piñera had always been in favor of no leniency to the Mapuche leader. “Jones Huala has never recognized the crime [he] committed, he has never measured the damage done. And therefore his behavior in a sustained manner is refractory to the values of respect for the rights of people,” the Government said in its filing before the Supreme Court.
Last year, Jones Huala sparked friction between the government of Argentina and Chile after Ambassador Rafael Bielsa addressed a Chilean court on behalf of Jones-Huala citing he was merely offering him the same consular assistance to which any other citizen whould be entitled.
Jones-Huala has fired his defense lawyers Karina Riquelme and Patricia Cuevas, who had worked to get him paroled.