Raise your voice and sign for Víctor Queipul!
Víctor Queipul Hueiquil, is lonko (traditional authority) of the “Comunidad Autónoma de Temucuicui”, and has worked to reclaim ancestral Mapuche territory, the protection of their cultural and spiritual identity, and their self-determination. For years, members of this community have suffered pólice violence, mistreatment and torture, judicial persecution, stigmatization and criminalization due to their human rights work.
On June 14, 2016, a group of policemen (“Carabineros”) performed an operative on territory of the community. The policemen used tear gas and anti-riot weapons. The interior and surroundings of the lonko’s house were filled with tear gas, affecting several children present, including a 3-month-old baby. When the lonko went outside the house to find out what was happening, he informed a tear gas bomb was shot towards him and blasted on his chest, leaving him momentarily incapacitated. At that moment two men without uniform approached him and told him they would help. These persons took him away to a vehicle where a third person was waiting.
The lonko was held by these three people against his will approximately from 8pm the night of June 14 and until 4am the next day. During this time he was blindfolded and tied. The men beat him with their hands and legs, as well as with objects, multiple times in different parts of his body. He was forced to sit down, and opened his legs to cause him pain. While he was retained, the men asked for information on the location of weapons supposedly possessed by the community, scolded him for his work with Mapuche communities and his support to a machi (spiritual authority) who is being criminalized and demanded him to stop his work on indigenous rights. The men threatened to kill the lonko in several occasions, saying they would set him free if he agreed to stop his defence work. All this the lonko denied.
Finally, the men abandoned the lonko. He walked, disoriented, until he arrived to Traiguén, a village approximately 50 km away from his home.
The lonko denounced the fact at the Traiguén police station, and subsequently filed a lawsuit. However, until now there has been no advances in the investigation. The lonko does not trust that the investigation will render results.