Chile furious with France for granting asylum to most wanted terrorist

Ricardo Palma Salamanca

SANTIAGO – The Chilean government does not share the decision adopted by the French refugee office, in terms of granting political asylum to Ricardo Palma Salamanca, Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick said yesterday.

In February this year, Ricardo Palma Salamanca was arrested by Interpol agents in Paris. Barely 48 hours later, he was released although a court in Paris decided to place him “under judicial control,” according to the EFE news agency.

The man had escaped from a Chilean jail in 1996 while serving his sentence for the murder of Senator Jaime Guzmán (founder of the UDI, conservative right-wing party) in April 1991. Guzmán was also a lawyer, a university professor and a key man in the government of notorious general Augusto Pinochet.

Mr. Chadwick revealed that “to express our disagreement with this decision, the Foreign Ministry will summon the Ambassador of France in Chile in the coming days to point out in the first place the total disagreement of the Government with this decision.”

In addition, the government will “request the Government of France, especially the Ministry of the Interior, that by exercising its powers, it may revoke this decision. With the purpose that they are the French Courts of Justice those that determine if they welcome or not the requested extradition to Ricardo Palma Salamanca.”

Chilean interior minister Chadwick explained that “it is very important to understand that this decision adopted by the French Government, through the refugee office, contravenes the norms of the Geneva Convention on asylum and protection. Given that both the crime of Senator Jaime Guzmán and the execution of the sentence was carried out in our country in full and total force of a democratic and legal state.”

And finally pointed out that “therefore, this granting of asylum to Palma Salamanca does not meet the requirements of the Geneva Convention, because in Chile there is a full democratic rule of law, as it is fully and thoroughly known to the French State and Government.”

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