HRW calls on Chile to amend anti-terrorism law and military jurisdiction

Chile should limit the scope of its military justice system and reform the country’s anti-terrorism law so that it can no longer be used to prosecute actions that do not constitute grave crimes of political violence, Human Rights Watch said today.

The legislative branch is currently debating two proposals, one to modify the anti-terrorism law and the other to limit military jurisdiction, presented by President Sebastian Piñera to Congress earlier in September 2010. On September 21, the Chamber of Deputies approved some modifications to the anti-terrorism legislation, which are now being debated in the Senate. The proposals come at a time when at least 32 incarcerated members of the indigenous Mapuche population in Southern Chile are on a hunger strike to protest the application of the anti-terrorism law to their cases, as well as their prosecution by military courts. They began their hunger strike on July 12.

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