Former Chilean Army Chief Ricardo Martínez-Menanteau has been placed under preventive arrest for five days, following his appearance before Martial Court Visiting Justice Romy Rutherford to testify in the so-called Milicogate case.
The retired general's legal defense team highlighted that the magistrate had not decided yet to prosecute their client, which was a good sign.
Martínez-Menanteau Friday showed up at the court to elaborate on the allegations against him regarding a fraud within the Army in the handling of freight funds but chose to invoke his right to remain silent, his lawyer Juan Carlos Manríquez explained.
Rutherford based her decision on Article 136 of the Code of Military Justice, which specifies that Whenever there is sufficient reason to suspect that a person is the author, accomplice or accessory to a crime, the Prosecutor may decree their imprisonment or limit himself to summoning him to give an inquiry statement, according to the circumstances.
The visiting minister has notified General Martínez and this defense of three provisional decisions that she has adopted, explained Manríquez. First, she has decided not to prosecute General Martinez for now for any crime; secondly, she has ordered his preventive national arrest, while she decides within five days, he added. And while she decides the procedural situation of General Martinez, as she has explained, this is going to be decided between now and next Wednesday, which is why she has also decreed preventive detention, the legal counselor went on.
General Martínez-Menanteau will spend the next five days at the Army's Telecommunications Regiment in Peñalolén, it was reported.
Manríquez stressed that the judge now needs to decide whether to prosecute General Martínez-Menanteau or release him due to lack of merit.
During his statement, Martínez-Menanteau was not allowed to have his legal advisors with him. The retired general requested that his decision to remain silent be put on record. He also requested that if the court insisted or warned him of the loss of other rights, such as communicating with his lawyer or being held incommunicado, such a decision should be grounded.