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Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Chile

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 18 August 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Chile, 18 August 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e52483141.html [accessed 2 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: Chile's major legislative accomplishments this year included reforming the counterterrorism law in response to a hunger-strike by indigenous Mapuche activists protesting the application of the law in land dispute cases and passing a law increasing the penalty for financing terrorism. In August, Chile adopted a new security plan that increases border protection to counter drug and human trafficking, and a new requirement that businesses report suspicious financial transactions. Chile was not considered a major destination for international terrorist activity. Domestic anarchist groups engaged in several small-scale bomb attacks.

2010 Terrorist Incidents: Approximately 80 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were detonated, deactivated, or found in 2010. Officials believed that these IEDs were tied to anarchist activity. The majority of the bombs were small and crudely built and most of the attacks in the first half of the year took place late at night and did not appear to be designed to kill or injure people. A slight change in modus operandi was seen from July to October, however, as anarchist bomb makers began placing IEDs in areas more likely to injure passersby during times of high traffic at both restaurants and near malls. These IEDs did not injure anyone as passersby saw and reported them, and they were consequently deactivated by the Chilean special police unit (GOPE). Since the arrest of 14 anarchist bomb makers in September and October, only one IED has been reported or found.

Chilean law enforcement agencies confronted sporadic low-level violence related to indigenous land disputes throughout the year. A group of indigenous Mapuches staged a demonstration against the Chilean state and staged a sit-in of the UN building. The demonstration was part of a larger protest, including a massive hunger strike, against the application of a counterterrorism law to prosecute some Mapuche activists. The Coordinadora Arauco Malleco (CAM), a group seeking recovery of former Mapuche indigenous lands, sometimes through radical means, claimed responsibility for several arson attacks during the year.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: On October 8, several significant changes to Chile's anti-terrorism law entered into effect; modifications to existing articles included redefining what constitutes a terrorist act and regulating how the defense can cross-examine protected witnesses (whose identities are secret). The legislative changes were a direct result of a hunger strike by 32 Mapuche prisoners, the majority of whom were in pretrial detention, protesting their prosecution under the anti-terrorism law and the military justice system for charges relating to their protest over the disputed lands, which included destruction of property, attacks on farms, or confrontations with police.

On May 10, Pakistani citizen Mohammed Saif Ur Rehman Khan was detained after a security check at the U.S. Embassy revealed traces of explosive residue on his clothes and personal belongings. Chilean law enforcement officials investigated Khan for suspected terrorist activity and terrorist ties. On December 1, the Public Prosecutor's Office announced it was ending its investigation as it did not have sufficient evidence to bring the case to court.

Chilean authorities also detained Chilean citizen Manuel Francisco Olate Cespedes for suspected involvement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia following an extradition request from the Colombian government. Olate faces several charges in Colombia, including terrorist financing, aiding and abetting a crime with terrorist ends, and administration of resources related to terrorist activities.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Chile has a large and well-developed banking and financial sector with an established anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing regime. All banks, financial institutions, and companies involved in money transfers are required to report suspicious transactions. Chile is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of South America (GAFISUD) and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. Chile complied with UNSCRs 1267 and 1373 and supported efforts to freeze terrorist assets.

Regional and International Cooperation: Chile was actively involved in the UN, OAS, and APEC, and incorporated those groups' recommendations into its security strategy. Chile also collaborated on bilateral and sub-regional activities to prevent terrorism through the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), and participated on international initiatives such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. Chile ratified the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

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