Chile. March 17. 2020. Statement by Coordinadora 18 de Octubre, a support network for prisoners of the Chilenean revolt.
Originally published by Publicacion Refractario.
Since the social revolt that began on October 18, 2019, there are close to 2,500 inmates under the various repressive laws of the State. Systematically, the judicial apparatus has decreed, maintained and ratified preventive detention as a precautionary measure against the vast majority of them, transforming in practice into an early and exemplary punishment against those who continue on the streets.
Today the Covid-19 pandemic is transformed into a new situation where we find ourselves, on the one hand, facing a highly contagious disease and, on the other, facing the social control measures that the State seeks to impose. On March 15, the Ministry of Justice applied a series of restrictions to prisons, such as the maximum income of two people per visit, and the reduction of these to once a week, with less and less time. We understand that, as experience in other countries indicates, these measures will only tend to sharpen. In fact, on March 18 Piñera decreed a State of Exception of Catastrophe for 90 days, which implies the possibility of a new curfew, a total quarantine and the departure of the military to the street, among other measures.
We are attentive to the reactions of our comrades inside and we recognize that these measures directly affect the prisoners of the revolt who are held in different jails and the minors who remain incarcerated in SENAME. We should not forget that 1,360 girls and boys have died in these nefarious centers for minors and that no authority has been held responsible for these deaths, reporting a serious health problem that predates the revolt. This is just one more evidence that the State does not seek to care for or safeguard the integrity or health of anyone.
This situation hits us right in our “Week of National and International Agitation for the Freedom of the Political Presidents of the Revolt”. As coordinator we are responsible for our calls, so we have decided to modify the schedule of activities, suspend those calls of a massive nature on the streets and launch an urgent campaign to safeguard the health of fellow prisoners. We call on all territories, assemblies, organizations and individuals to join this campaign, spreading and joining to demand:
Change of precautionary measures for all political prisoners and prisoners of the revolt: from Pretrial Detention to Domiciliary Arrest!
With this campaign, we face a health emergency that is even more serious inside prisons due to overcrowding, hygiene conditions and increasing isolation from their family and friends who support and accompany them. We salute and stand in solidarity with the subversive political prisoners, whose condition is even more isolated, and with the Mapuche political prisoners, especially with those who have been on a hunger strike since February 27. We also demand, for both them and those in prison of the revolt, that while they continue to be kidnapped in prisons, they be provided with all the hygiene items necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.
We know that the modification of a precautionary measure does not mean the end of the process but it is a substantial change for our fellow prisoners, for their health and integrity. In the hearings of the last days some (4) have achieved the change of precautionary measure, but other varixs continue to be denied. Today more than ever it is urgent to remove them from prisons, so the call continues not only to remain vigilant, but also to launch different national and international initiatives that are agitating specifically in relation to this campaign.
Because the State does not seek to safeguard our integrity:
From remand in custody to house arrest now!
Immediate release of political prisoners
Coordinator for the Freedom of Political Prisoners October 18
Santiago, March 17, 2020
Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org/ Instagram: coordinator18 October / Facebook:
@ Coordinadora18deoctober / http://www.coordinadora18deoctober.wordpress.com
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