José Vergara: the case of a missing young man that reached the Inter-American Court

After his arrest in 2015, the four police officers involved initially ruled out that the young man had been apprehended, and then claimed that they abandoned him in the desert.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights reported the admissibility of the process for the disappearance of José Vergara Espinoza, that occurred in Alto Hospicio in September 2015.

This, after the Chilean justice will only condemn the four police officers involved for the crime of simple kidnapping, rejecting the application of the Convention against the Forced Disappearance of Persons, in force in Chile since 2010. All this, after the annulment of a first judicial process that only convicted them of illegal detention.

This way, The IACHR “has set a period of three months, extendable if necessary up to a maximum of four months,” for the Government of Chile to provide a series of requested information.

For José’s sister, Cristina Vergara, “this is the first step so that the State of Chile is forced to recognize its international responsibility for the acts of its police agents in the forced disappearance of my brother. For eight years we have demanded justice for José Vergara. They took him alive, we want him alive.”

“I met in person with President Gabriel Boric in March of this year, during his official visit to the Pisagua memorial in Iquique, and he personally committed to me and my family to restart the search for my son’s whereabouts and include him in the project to search for missing detainees, but it deceived us. We feel disappointed in our own government,” said Juan Vergara, father of the missing young man.

The lawyer representing the family, Enzo Morales, highlighted that “the IACHR in Washington, United States, has declared admissible the complaint against the State of Chile for its international responsibility in the forced disappearance of José Vergara de Alto Hospicio, since, “Justice freed the murderers, the government abandoned the search for his mortal remains and President Boric did not include him in the national search plan for missing detainees launched on August 30, arbitrarily discriminating against him.”

The arrest and disappearance of José Vergara

José Vergara was arrested in his house located in the commune of Alto Hospicio on September 13, 2015. after relatives requested help from Carabineros to contain a crisis caused by the schizophrenia that the young man suffered from. After the arrest, his whereabouts were never known again.

Initially The four police officers who made the arrest – Carlos Valencia Castro, Ángelo Muñoz Roque, Abraham Caro Pérez and Manuel Carvajal Fabres – denied that the young man was at the home at the time of the arrest. and they even falsified radio communications with the communications center.

After the start of the criminal investigation, The police officers involved confessed that they abandoned the young man in the desert, in a deserted place on the way to Caleta Buena, evidencing with this case a practice called “machetazo” or “two short”a police procedure by which the regular channels of the Carabineros procedure are skipped and the detainees are abandoned in vacant places in the desert, to avoid the paperwork and explanations that an irregular detention causes.

The case is added to that of José Huenante, a 16-year-old boy who has disappeared since September 5, 2005 after being detained by a police patrol in Puerto Montt, and that of Hugo Arispe in Arica, who has disappeared since January 14, 2001 from prison. from Acha, all detained and disappeared in democracy.