A criminal complaint has been lodged against three Argentinian officials in response to the recent fatal shooting of a 22-year-old Mapuche man on sacred land.
Rafael Nahuel was killed by security forces November 25 near a national park-owned property where Mapuche had been violently evicted by authorities on the orders of Federal Judge Gustavo Villanueva.
Two other members of the evicted Lof Lafken Winkul Mapu community in Villa Mascardi were simultaneously wounded by bullets, resumenlatinoamericano.org reported.
Charges of abuse of power were filed Saturday by the Confederation of Mapuches of Neuquén against Argentina’s Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, Judge Villanueva and prosecutor Silva Little.
The indigenous rights organisation accused the trio of taking part in an illegal police raid on “community land without the required legal authorisation” between June 21 and June 22, near Loma Campana, Rio Negro reported.
Investigations into the November raid, which led to the death of Nahuel and the arrest and alleged torture of fellow Mapuches who had seized land they claim as Mapuche territory, are still ongoing, according to the Buenos Aires Times.
The government has given police “the benefit of the doubt”, according to Vice-President Gabriella Michetti, who claims officers “were attacked.”
Lawyers, however, argue that Nahuel was shot from behind; the autopsy on his body showed no signs of gunpowder on his hands.
The also insist two men detained after last Saturday’s raid were brutally beaten by police when they tried to resuscitate Nahuel. Another Mapuche woman was forced to bend down while police tormented her, according to Tiempo Argentino.
The Mapuche community has vowed to continue the fight its land rights regardless of increasing military and police repression under the government of Mauricio Macri.
"Before this oppression and the great loss of a warrior during the struggle, we were sad, but we will continue fighting to defend our lands," Rafael Nahuel’s cousin has said.