Chilean court to decide fate of detained Bolivians today

SANTIAGO – The nine Bolivians arrested in Chile will be given their verdict today, following the decision of Isabel Peña, judge of Pozo Almonte, to hold a fourth break during the shortened hearing.

The two military and seven public officers of the Bolivian National Customs, arrested on March 19th, appeared in the Chilean court on Tuesday during the shortened trial, seeking to find a swift solution to settle the ‘misunderstanding’ triggered on the border between the two countries.

In the hearing, opened in the Pozo Almonte court, the defense reiterated that the Bolivians, arrested by the Chilean customs officers, were fulfilling their duty in an operation against smuggling and they were unjustly charged with robbery with violence and intimidation, as well as being armed with banned weapons.

The Chilean prosecutor reiterated the charges and asked three years and one day in prison for the first charge and a similar sentence for the second one, along with a fine of 32 million Chilean pesos (more than $48,000 USD) for smuggling two vehicles.

Given this request, the defense asked to acquit the defendants of the charges and if they are found guilty, expel them from Chile.

Bolivian President reacted on Twitter, saying “3-year sentence is an injustice that is due to the pride of some authorities of Chile #LiberenALos9”.