Federal Judge Gustavo Villanueva ruled on Monday that Mapuche leader Facundo Jones Huala will be extradited to Chile to serve the remainder of a sentence he received in the neighboring country. Jones Huala’s lawyers are set to appeal the decision.
The Chilean government is calling for Jones Huala’s extradition to complete a 9-year prison sentence from 2018. The Mapuche leader was convicted for the arson of a farm in 2013 and illegal possession of a weapon. He has one year and four months left to serve.
In February 2022, Jones Huala escaped Chile while under house arrest and was on the run for almost a year.
On January 30, he was arrested in the town of El Bolsón in Río Negro province and transferred to the Esquel Penitentiary Unit, Chubut province, a few days later.
The trial to decide on his extradition began last Thursday in person in Esquel. Jones Huala’s lawyers insisted that they could not structure a defense because the court refused to allow them to present evidence demonstrating violations of human, ethnic, and political rights he suffered in the Chilean prison in Temuco between 2018 and 2022.
Judge Villanueva read his ruling via Zoom — Jones Huala, his lawyers, the prosecution, human rights organizations, Mapuche representatives and the press were on the call. Villanueva ruled that Chile meets the technical requirements for extradition, rejected Jones Huala’s defense’s claims of persecution, and said that all his rights had been guaranteed over the course of the trial.
He recommended that the Chilean judiciary discount the time that Jones Huala spent detained in Argentina from his remaining jail time, another point of contention.
According to Télam, Jones Huala’s lawyers had announced last Thursday that they would appeal the extradition and said the case will reach the Argentine Supreme Court — the appeal will hinge on the court barring the new evidence.
—with information from Télam