Chilean indigenous leader jailed in high-profile murder case

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A court on Friday sentenced a Mapuche indigenous leader to 18 years in prison for his participation in the killing of a couple during an arson attack last year in a high-profile case that rekindled divisions over land rights in Chile. A Temuco criminal tribunal found Celestino Cordova, a 27-year-old traditional healer, guilty of taking part in the deadly attack on the elderly Luchsinger landowners on their estate in the southern Araucania region. Many Mapuche, famous for their fierce resistance to the Spanish conquest, say they were robbed by the Chilean government’s often brutal colonization policy in the 19th century. That has bred deep-seated Mapuche resentment against the descendants of immigrants such as the Luchsingers, whose ancestors reportedly arrived in Southern Chile in 1883.

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