In less than a week, federal judge Gustavo Lleral ordered the “partial file” of the Maldonado case, “exclusively to the hypothesis of the forced disappearance of a person”, and summoned the complaints to be issued on the “new hypotheses” introduced in the judgment of the Court of Appeals of Comodoro Rivadavia. However, last night he repented, revoked his own resolution and ordered a series of pending measures, such as the virtual reconstruction of the events. In the meantime, the response from one of the complaints, the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights (APDH), had reached his desk, which told him that “the filing of a criminal hypothesis within an open file and in process such as the Maldonado case , can only be interpreted as a political fact but far from the legal”. In short, the magistrate –challenged by the family but ratified by higher instances– adds confusion to a file that he himself keeps paralyzed and ignores the testimony of witness “D”, which was sent to him by federal prosecutor Federico Baquioni .
In the brief signed by the lawyer Mauricio Rojas, the APDH affirmed that “the case is still open by judicial resolution of higher instances and this is not an interpretive matter but a decisive one.” The human rights organization and part of the complaint added that “the file of the criminal hypothesis of forced disappearance does not respond to what is established by Cassation or to the legal logic, since being an open file and in process, the judge must exhaust an impartial investigation, the essential mission of the judge being to thoroughly investigate all the circumstances that deserve a criminal reproach”. From the point of view of the procedure, the first resolution of Lleral dated October 24 “is not of the nature of an archive, but rather the express reluctance of the judge on duty in the file (that is, Lleral himself), to investigate the circumstances under which premise of 142 ter (forced disappearance of person)”. In short, that complaint concluded that “there is no basis to challenge a legal and procedural situation that is not supported by minimum parameters and we are only going to settle this position in order not to validate an arbitrary judicial decision in the future.” .
So entangled is this cause that Lleral occupied 25 pages to describe its history, its comings and goings, and based its attempt to archive it on the September 2019 ruling of the Federal Chamber of Comodoro Rivadavia, which revoked the dismissal of the gendarme Emmanuel Echazú, and determined that Santiago’s death was “traumatic and doubtful for having occurred in a context of state intervention.” However, this Friday the magistrate signed a new resolution revoking the one of October 24, and ordered a series of pending measures for months, as the Cassation Chamber had indicated:
* Carrying out the virtual reconstruction of the scene of the events in three dimensions, with augmented reality, based on the objective data collected in the investigation. A representation of what happened must be made interactively, in order to determine the different variables according to the place where the participants are placed, thus allowing the visual field of each of them to be eventually verified and to establish whether it was possible for them to perceive Santiago. Maldonado crouched in the river. For the materialization of the aforementioned measure, the magistrate will appoint the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, as proposed by the prosecution.
* Carrying out technological expertise on individualized video supports such as MVI-6560 and MVI-6561, in order to identify the verbal expressions that are recorded, the number of shots fired, the moments in which gendarmes are armed with weapons or other elements (axe, stones, sticks, flats), and the moments in which they or civilians are observed throwing stones or carrying out detonations. For this purpose, the corresponding captures of those images in which the aforementioned actions are displayed must be made.
* It is necessary to keep in mind for your opportunity the other tests proposed by the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS).
The superior instances indicated to Judge Lleral the need to carry out a multiplicity of evidentiary measures, as well as the complaint of the Maldonado family, but he has not done any so far. In his first brief, he says that he considers himself confirmed as judge of the case, but completely ignores the testimony of witness “D”, revealed by Page 12, who on Thursday appeared before the Federal Court of Appeals of Comodoro Rivadavia to request that they not close the complaint he filed for persecution and harassment against him by the Gendarmerie. The woman — who was born in Esquel and worked as a health professional in that force’s squad in that city — declared last April that Santiago “was detained by the gendarmes, they took him to the Benetton ranch and “they were It was the hand.”
At the hearing, judges Hebe Corchuelo and Javier Leal de Ibarra, prosecutor Ricardo Pettinari and Gendarmerie lawyer Manuel Barros listened to witness “D”. The last two sought to re-victimize her and devalue her words and her person. But she spoke last and the judges took note of the kind of protection she had as a witness from her. In that sense, they could replace her in a program, something that Judge Guido Otranto took from her when the prosecutor Baquioni dismissed her complaint for persecution.
“Her position and her testimony were very firm, that is what those who tried to harm her failed to do,” said her lawyer, Ismael Jalil. She remains to wait for what the Chamber will decide in her case because of what she claims happened to her after declaring what she knew about Santiago: they harassed her, followed her, threatened her and ended up making her available.