This Friday the Oral Criminal Court of Temuco handed down a sentence of 18 years in prison to the machi Celestino Córdova, who was found guilty of the fire in which the latifundista couple Luchsinger-Mackay died, in Vilcún, mapuche territory.
“By a majority of votes, a Celestino Cerafín Córdova Tránsito -ya antes individualizado- is sentenced to a penalty of 18 years imprisonment, and perpetual disqualification from holding public political office, for being deemed the author of a fire resulting in death”, said the 120-page ruling.
The conviction, which was conducted under strict police presence, both inside and outside the courtroom, ended with the rejection of the request of the prosecutors, who had asked for qualified life imprisonment (40 years) and without the right to benefits.
Previously defense attorney Karina Riquelme announced that they will appeal for a mistrial, since the macho Córdova was convicted as a “collaborator”, and not actually the “author”.
While the reading was given in court, hundreds of people demonstrated outside in support of the mapuche authority, which ended in clashes with police.
Last february 20th, the chilean courts believed the prosecutor’s version of the supposed participation of the machi Córdova in the attack that happened the morning of january 4th, 2013 at the Granja Lumahue estate, where Werner Luchsinger and his wife Vivianne Mackay lost their lives.
After the reading, regional prosecutor of the Public Ministry and in this case, Cristian Paredes, commented that the ruling would be reviewed in full for future action, however he felt that at least, the years given to Córdova “are consistent with the gravity of the crime”.
“The penalty imposed is 18 years; 18 without the possibility of alternative benefits, therefore we think it is a sentence that at least partially fits the severity of the harm caused to the victims. We need to review the wording of the judgment. Today only a brief section was read concerning the most aggravated conditions (…) we must review the entire contents to ultimately decide whether we will ask for a mistrial”, said the prosecutor.
Meanwhile, the lawyer Carlos Tenorio, who represented the Luchsinger-Mackay family at the trial, assured that the case was “very complex, in which proving a fire resulting in death is not easy. Particularly in this region.”
It should be remembered that the judges rejected the government’s classification of the events as “terrorism”.
The lawyer Pablo Ortega, who defended the ancestral mapuche authority of Lof Lleupeko, said that he is “calm. In fact he has told me that for his family, for his people, for his communities, he is prepared and in good spirits. Both he and his defense are hopeful about resources that will come in time, and that we can obtain the declaration of absolution that is what the defense believes in.”