Mapuche leader found “not guilty” in unprecedented trial in Argentina

Source: Intercontinental Cry

The celebratory cries of “Marici weu” “Marici weu[1]” could be heard echoing throughout the streets of the sleepy mining town of Zapala in southwest Argentina. After eight days of intense deliberations in court and more than three years of preparation, Relmu Ñamku and two other Mapuches, Mauricio Rain and Martin Velasquez Maliqueo, were free.

“Today justice has been done,” said a tearful Ñamku in court on Wednesday, November 4. “From the onset, we said that this was an unjust trial and denounced the collusion between the Judiciary and the oil companies. Today, the Indigenous People have triumphed, as Mapuches we are stronger and will continue more than ever to defend every single metre of our territory.”

The case began in the community of Winkel Newen on December 28, 2012, when Officer of the Court Veronia Pelayes, representatives of the Apache Oil Company and a contingent of police arrived with an eviction notification. Apache had tried numerous times to enter Mapuche territory to reactivate an oil deposit but had failed due to the community’s insistence on legal irregularities, including lack of prior consultation.

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