Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
This 21-year-old student has been left completely blind in both eyes after allegedly being shot with pellets by police during the protests in Chile.
According to local media, student Gustavo Gatica, 21, was shot with pellets in both eyes by police while he was protesting in the Plaza Italia square in the Chilean capital of Santiago in the province of the same name in central Chile.
Reports said that Gatica was taking photographs during a protest on 8th November and he was taken to hospital after he was shot with pellets.
Doctors at the Hospital Santa Maria in the Providencia neighbourhood reportedly first confirmed he had lost the sight in one of his eyes but he was later diagnosed with total blindness.
After 17 days in the hospital, doctors allowed him to go home but he has to attend several therapy sessions such as kinesiological therapy, occupational therapy, and psychological and psychiatric support sessions.
The victim’s brother, whose name was not reported, told local media: “I asked Gustavo what he wanted me to say when someone of the family speaks to the media and the first thing he said was ‘keep fighting’ because he knows why he was there.”
According to local media, Gustavo has become a symbol for the more than 200 people that have been injured in their eyes as a consequence of the alleged police repression to protestors.
The Chilean National Institute of Human Rights (INDH) confirmed on Twitter that Fabiola Campillay, 36, is the second person who has been left blind in both eyes allegedly as a result of police action against protestors.
The victim and her sister A.C.R. reported that cops threw tear gas bombs at both of them when they were on their way to work in a train station.
Campillay’s sister told local media: “We were on our way quietly, we were not even protesting, they just shot.”
According to the doctors who treated Campillay, the tear gas bombs splintered some bones in her nose and made her lose her sight in both eyes.
INDH said on social media that its director Sergio Micco condemns the accident and that the institution will file a complaint.
On Tuesday the Human Rights Watch Organization (HRW) reportedly confirmed “serious” violations of human rights by police forces and recommended reforming the institution.
Previously, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Amnesty International (AI) agreed that there were violations by police.
The Chile University confirmed at the beginning of November they were willing to file a criminal complaint together with the family of an 18-year-old student of the institution who lost the sight on his left eye when he was shot with gun pellets by policemen during a protest in Santiago.
According to the University of Chile, theatre student Vicente Munoz was shot six times with a pellet gun and one of the pellets hit his left eye during protests in the city centre of the Chilean capital.
The University of Chile dean Ennio Vivaldi told local reporters after visiting Munoz in hospital: “We should never see attacks with pellets to the face from two metres away again, this has to stop right now.”
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