Chile: Amnesty International publishes evidence of possible concealment of information by national police

Amnesty International published new evidence today showing that the lieutenant colonel of the Carabineros special police force, identified by the code “G-3”, used his shotgun in an abusive manner against protesters on multiple occasions during the protests at the end of 2019.

At the beginning of May it was reported that Chile’s Carabineros police force had attempted to conceal the presence of officer “G-3” during the operation in which student Gustavo Gatica was blinded. “G-3” is a “Deputy Prefect of Services 2”, a high-ranking commander in the Special Forces who sits in Chile’s “Special High Command”, an internal advisory team put together during times of conflict or contingencies, according to its own bylaws.

“It is unacceptable for commanders in Carabineros to allow high-ranking officers like ‘G-3’ to consistently misuse their weapons. By not taking clear measures to stop this deputy prefect and, therefore, his subordinates, from operating without adhering to internal protocols and international regulations, commanders in Carabineros have abetted one of the most regrettable episodes in recent Chilean history in which Gustavo Gatica, at just 21 years old, was blinded by heavy rubber pellets while participating in a protest,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

“It is even more alarming that Carabineros have attempted to conceal the presence of ‘G-3’ at the scene where Gustavo Gatica was seriously injured, as his statement was not even taken for the case file, despite the fact that he was one of the commanding officers of the operation and that very same day he fired 170 cartridges with 12 pellets in each one.”

Amnesty International also noted with concern the conclusion of the Carabineros’ internal case dated 9 December 2019 that suggests that Gustavo Gatica’s injuries were caused by protesters. Carabineros must provide all the information that the Public Prosecutor's Office needs to clarify the facts and carry out a rigorous and thorough investigation aimed at clarifying the truth and apply the appropriate sanctions where applicable.

It is unacceptable for commanders in Carabineros to allow high-ranking officers like ‘G-3’ to consistently misuse their weapons
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

“To suggest that the protesters themselves could have caused Gustavo Gatica's injuries is not only malicious but illustrates an unwillingness to carry out a serious internal investigation. Rather than protecting the population, they seem to be protecting themselves,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas.

Amnesty International calls on the Chilean Public Prosecutor’s Office to continue with the investigations into “G-3” and those commanders who could and should have prevented that officer from operating arbitrarily, and the officers who may have participated in the obstruction and cover-up. The responsibility of the chain of command for failure to act should be duly investigated.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Duncan Tucker: duncan.tucker@amnesty.org