Asia - Pacific

Chile passes constitutional accusation for ex-minister

Andres Chadwick accused of human rights violations, illegally declaring curfew during first days of anti-gov't protests

Beyza Binnur Dönmez   | 12.12.2019
Chile passes constitutional accusation for ex-minister


Chile's Senate has passed a constitutional accusation against the country's former interior minister over his management of the recent anti-government protests.  

The Senate recognized on Wednesday Andres Chadwick's political responsibility in human rights violations and illegally declaring a state of emergency when protests started on Oct. 18, according to Caracas-based broadcaster TeleSur.

The accusation, comprised of two parts, was approved by the Senate with 23-18 votes.

The first part of the accusation underlined the violation of the "constitution and laws, omitting effective measures to prevent the violation of human rights and not having rationally maintained public order," while the second part pointed out the violation of the Constitution "by declaring a state of emergency and having allowed events not contemplated in this figure."

"He is accused of restricting the freedom of movement and assembly in curfews, passing the corresponding parameters by denaturing the measure," according to the accusation.

Chadwick will be disqualified from public employment or running for office for five years.

Late November, Chadwick was impeached from his interior minister position by the vote of lawmakers at the House of Representatives, 79-70, due to his mismanagement of the protests.

His conduct has been under question since July, when he was accused by legislators of being responsible for the killing of a 24-year-old indigenous man -- Camilo Catrillanca -- by police.

The accusation decision was seen as a victory of the opposition against the Pinera government, due to his refusal to remove Chadwick from office after the impeachment motion passed.

The protests, which began in response to a now-suspended 4% transport fare hike, turned violent on Oct. 19, leaving at least 23 people dead.

After more than two months of mobilizations against the government, Chileans marched Tuesday for 352 people who lost their vision partially or totally during social protests in commemoration of the International Human Rights day.

They were carrying banner featuring an eye-drawing that read "the eyes of the people accuse the terrorist state."

According to the National Institute of Human Rights, more than 6,000 people have been arrested and 3,449 others injured over the past month.

Chilean prosecutors opened a total of 2,670 criminal investigations on human rights violations committed by security forces during the protests on Tuesday.

The president accepted protesters' demands earlier this month to change the constitution, which dates back to the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

Pinera also announced concessions to roll back the fare hike, raise the minimum wage and place a hold on electricity prices until next year in a bid to contain strife.

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