Argentina’s Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed Mapuche activist Facundo Jones Huala’s extradition to Chile to complete a nine-year prison sentence.
In 2018, a criminal court in the Chilean city of Valdivia convicted Jones Huala of arson for an attack on a farm in 2013, as well as illegal possession of a weapon. He has one year and four months of his sentence left to serve.
In February 2022, Jones Huala escaped Chile while under house arrest. He was on the run for almost a year before being arrested on January 30 in the town of El Bolsón in Río Negro province. From there, he was transferred to the Esquel Penitentiary Unit in Chubut province.
The Bariloche Federal Court had requested Jones Huala’s extradition in July. The Attorney General’s Office upheld the sentence.
In that trial, Jones Huala’s lawyer, Eduardo Soares, said that Chile “does not offer safeguards” nor does it guarantee that it will discount the time that Jones Huala spent detained from the sentence.
During the trial, Jones Huala’s lawyers insisted that their defense was hampered because the court did not allow them to present several pieces of evidence.
On Tuesday, the court rejected the lawyers’ arguments, stating that they had been unable to prove that their case was harmed because they couldn’t present the evidence.
Jones Huala, 37, has been involved in indigenous rights activism for most of his life. The authorities say he is the leader of an organization that opposes the existence of the Argentine and Chilean states, known as Mapuche Ancestral Resistance (RAM, by its Spanish initials).
However, no members other than Jones Huala have been named and its appearances are often limited to leaflets at the sites of alleged attacks, prompting some Mapuche organizations to question whether the group really exists.