«If the police intervention on the night of December 27th had not taken place, Mauricio Fredes would still be alive.» These words are printed in the complaint against the Mayor, Felipe Guevara, the Director-General of the Carabineros, Mario Rozas, the Special Forces, and all those who are responsible. These words resonate like an echo as we read them and think about their real meaning.
If the police intervention on December 27th at night, had not taken place, then Mauricio would still be alive…
The complaint filed by CODEPU, with the sponsorship of two of its lawyers, Mariela Santana and Hiram Villagra and with the support of the entire institution was declared admissible by the courts in Santiago. It should be noted that this complaint was filed for the crimes of homicide, abuse against individuals and denial of services. These are classified as crimes against humanity.
On December 27, 2019, says the document, «the victim, Mauricio Fredes Fredes, after his workday, went with some friends to Plaza Baquedano to participate in the demonstration that, as every Friday, had been organized.
It should be noted that on that day the police operation of «preventative seizure» of the Plaza was deployed for the second time. This took place under the instruction of Mayor Guevara and General Rozas, Director of Police, under the «zero tolerance» for demonstrations’ policy. This had the objective of removing the demonstrators from the streets. The operation increased the number of police to around 1000 officials. With deterrent weapons such as shotguns, tear gas bombs, and water cannons, they surrounded the square, dispersing the demonstrators as soon as they gathered. They used excessive violence, chasing them, shooting at their bodies and making lock-in maneuvers with police cars, which forced people to run for protection.
At about 10:00 p.m., the complaint states, according to witnesses, Mauricio Fredes, along with other people, was attacked by Police Special Forces, who chased the crowd at full speed through the Alameda with their water cannon, shooting water directly at them.
Mauricio ran towards the intersection of Alameda and Irene Morales Street, escaping from the water cannon and falling headfirst into a six-foot deep pit that was uncovered and contained electric cables and water from the cannon.
Those who witnessed the event immediately notified both the rescue brigades and the police themselves. The police, far from coming to his aid, continued to throw tear gas and water at the scene. They flooded the area, intentionally preventing the victim from being rescued for a few minutes and knowing the serious risk involved.
When he could finally be rescued, he was taken to the former first-aid post, entering the health care facility with no sign of life.
…If the police intervention, mandated by higher authorities, had not taken place, Mauricio Fredes would still be alive…
The complaint presented on behalf of Mauricio is one of the many legal resources presented by CODEPU. It was intended to prevent the repressive measures by the police as a response to the social demands for Dignity and a Just Chile. Many of the legal actions that have been filed include complaints about torture, serious injuries and serious human rights violations that have occurred in our country in the last 120 days.
In late December, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed its concern over the «continuity of acts of violence and disproportionate use of force by the Chilean police during the social protests of recent weeks» and deeply lamented «the death on December 27 of Mauricio Fredes, protester who fled from a police charge and fell into a hole with water and electricity cables”
CODEPU maintains that «the crimes in the complaint are also violations of human rights that can be conceived as crimes against humanity». These crimes attack and harm the civilian population. They are widespread and systematic crimes and violations and they are done in full knowledge of the attacks.
Hence, when we repeat that, if the police intervention had not taken place, Mauricio Fredes would still be alive… it reminds us not only of all those who had died, but also of Fabiola, Gustavo, Juan, Mauricio, Felipe, Mónica, and so many others who have been the victims of mutilation and torture.
In honor of all of them:
Until justice becomes the norm!