On April 4, 2017, the Neuquén police used rubber bullets and tear gas to subdue a teacher protest led by the Neuquén Province Education Workers Association (ATEN, according to its acronym in Spanish). Carlos Fuentealba was shot in the head with a tear gas cartridge. He died a few hours later.
The provincial justice system convicted police officer José Darío Poblete for aggravated homicide in Fuentealba’s death. The Neuquén courts closed a second lawsuit investigating an attempted cover-up and political responsibility in the homicide. Fuentealba’s family, however, appealed that decision and the case made it to the National Supreme Court. CELS submitted amicus curie briefs in this second suit.
This is an opportunity for the high court to reverse the impunity in this case in a discussion of the responsibilities beyond the material authorship of the act, and issue a clear message on how the state must guarantee the right to protest.