Argentina: State must clarify facts around the death of Santiago Maldonado and punish those responsible

The decision of an Argentine court to close the case of the enforced disappearance of Santiago Maldonado, without having clarified the causes which led to his death and without investigating the alleged responsibility of the authorities, violates the rights to truth, justice and reparation, Amnesty International said today.

“According to the Argentine justice system, no one is responsible for the death of Santiago Maldonado. That is unacceptable. The judicial authorities must ensure a comprehensive, impartial and independent investigation in order to determine the causes and context of his death,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

According to the Argentine justice system, no one is responsible for the death of Santiago Maldonado. That is unacceptable. The judicial authorities must ensure a comprehensive, impartial and independent investigation in order to determine the causes and context of his death
Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

“To separate the death of Santiago Maldonado from the security forces operation in which it took place could lead to impunity in this case and send out the wrong signal about human rights in Argentina.”

On 29 November, an Argentine federal judge closed the proceedings investigating the death and disappearance of Santiago Maldonado. According to the ruling, Santiago “died by drowning, no one could have prevented it, no one could have helped him, not the officials pursuing the operation nor the members of the community that Santiago went to help with their claims.”

Santiago Maldonado, a 28-year-old activist, was disappeared for 70 days from 1 August 2017 following a violent raid by the Argentine National Gendarmerie of the Mapuche community Pu Lof, in the department of Cushamen in Chubut province. Despite confirmation that his death took place in the context of a violent operation carried out by security forces that answer to the Argentine Ministry of Security, the ruling does not consider the context in which his death occurred.

“It is essential that the Argentine authorities clarify the facts of the case, pursue all hypotheses as to what could have led to his death, and comply with their obligation to guarantee the rights of his family to truth, justice and reparation,” said Erika Guevara Rosas.

“Human rights organizations will continue to work to report and denounce cases of human rights violations: it is our job to support the victims and demand that their right to know the truth is guaranteed, and that those responsible are punished.”

It is essential that the Argentine authorities clarify the facts of the case, pursue all hypotheses as to what could have led to his death, and comply with their obligation to guarantee the rights of his family to truth, justice and reparation
Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International