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Mexico opposes extradition of Chilean former left-wing commando

By
Renzo Pipoli
View of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico where Chilean former left wing commando Raul Escobar was living at the time of his arrest in 2017. Photo courtesy of marcoreyesgt/Pixabay
View of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico where Chilean former left wing commando Raul Escobar was living at the time of his arrest in 2017. Photo courtesy of marcoreyesgt/Pixabay

Nov. 29 (UPI) -- The governor of the Mexican state of Guanajuato, Diego Rodriguez, will work to prevent the recently approved extradition from Mexico of a Chilean former left-wing commando, wanted in his country on suspicion he murdered a senator.

Instead of an extradition to Chile to face trial for a 1991 terror attack that killed Senator Jaime Guzman, Rodriguez said Raul Escobar, also known as Comandante Emilio, must stand trial in Mexico on kidnapping charges, according to a report Wednesday from El Heraldo de Mexico.

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Rodriguez said he asked a state prosecutor to "analyze strategies so that he can be tried in our country, and in our state, because there were many people hurt by his actions," the newspaper reported.

Escobar was arrested in Guanajuato in June 2017 on charges of heading a group specialized in kidnapping that was involved in the abduction of a French-American woman, who has already been freed.

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At the time of his arrest, Escobar was living -- with fake Mexican documents -- in San Miguel de Allende, a central Mexico colonial town heavily visited by tourists. He been jailed since then and has sought to prevent his extradition.

Rodriguez said it is important that before he is returned to Chile that he should first face a trial in the state of Guanajuato, where there is special legislation that eases prosecution of those accused of kidnapping.

Escobar is wanted in Chile for the 1991 killing of the senator, who fell victim of an attack carried out by the rebel group Frente Patriotico Manuel Rodriguez.

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According to Proceso newspaper, Escobar has denied charges of having taking part in kidnappings in Mexico, and at one point made a plea for asylum.

The newspaper reported Monday that Escobar's extradition from Mexico to Chile was approved after the Chilean government guaranteed Escobar would not be sentenced to death or to life in prison.

Guzman, the senator, was killed by gunshot when he was 44 years old, just outside the campus of a university where he was a teacher as he was leaving the institution sitting on the passenger side of a vehicle. Escobar and another militant participated in that attack, Chilean authorities said.

The Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front has been described as a Marxist-Leninist organization founded in the early 1980s in Chile, at a time when the country was ruled by military strongman Augusto Pinochet.

The group at one time was estimated to have up to 1,500 members. Other operations it is alleged to have carried out include an assassination attempt against Pinochet in 1986, where five of his bodyguards were killed and 11 injured but where he escaped with light injuries.

The group is also accused of kidnapping police officials, attacking press agencies and media, and in 1990 for detonating a bomb in a restaurant, injuring United States military personnel. It also placed bombs in three American-owned fast food chains during the early 1990s.

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