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Chilean Prisoners Resist Control Unit Move

On February 20, 1994, Chilean prison officials transferred 48 political prisoners, members of the anarchist Lautaro movement and the Marxist Frente Patriotico Manuel Rodriguez (FPMR), to a recently completed control unit (CU) built within the old penitentiary of Santiago. A total of 200 political prisoners who have been arrested during the current government are scheduled to be transferred to the new control unit. In the CU prisoners will only be allowed 2 non-contact visits a month from an approved list of four visitors. Prior to this prisoners were allowed twice weekly visits with unlimited numbers of friends and relatives in the prison gym. Prisoners will also have little contact with each other and will be subject to CU conditions similar to those used in the United States, Spain, Germany, etc. The prison was built by Spanish and German companies.

Rafael Escorza, a political prisoner said "we will resist this move even at the cost of our lives." The prisoners resisted the transfer with firearms leaving six people injured in the ensuing shoot out. To protest the prison transfer the FPMR and Lautaro revolutionaries bombed a police station on Feb. 21: on Feb. 22 they bombed a police academy: on Feb. 23 the headquarters of the governments ruling political parties were bombed. Four people were wounded in the attacks. An FPMR spokesperson said "Our objective is to obtain immediate freedom for the political prisoners."

Despite the nominal "democracy" in Chile, the government there holds hundreds of prisoners convicted of resisting the fascist Pinochet military dictatorship. Several groups and parties, including the FPMR and Lautaro Movement, have continued the revolutionary struggle which has resulted in even more political prisoners.

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