Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chile: Dismissed for being gay, former police officer seeks justice in court

A former Chilean police detective who says he was dismissed from his post for being gay after fifteen years of service, has gone to Santiago's Court of Appeals to challenge the ruling. From the Santiago Times:
On Thursday May 7 ex-Investigations Officer César Ricardo Contreras Segura presented a demand letter to the Santiago Court of Appeals requesting reinstatement in the police, reimbursement of his wages lost since his 2006 expulsion, and damages [...] on claims that he was fired because the police department is homophobic.
Contreras was dismissed from the police in January of 2006, according to El Mercurio, and says that he decided to go to the Court of Appeals only after several attempts at seeking resolution through the Comptroller General office were ignored.

“From 2006 to date, I have lived in family, emotional and economic hell because of my unjust and inhumane expulsion from the Civil Police, where I served for 15 years on a faultless path that police civil servants wanted to sully only because of my homosexuality" says Contreras.

Rolando Jimenez, president of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (MOVILH), also appeared at the May 7th press conference and said that Contreras had the organization's full support. Jimenez called the dismissal one of the most brutal instanced of homophobia known to the organization and said that it was immoral for the police department to investigate the detective's private life prior to dismissal based on suspicions that he was gay.

Chilean gay news portal OpusGay quotes Contreras as saying that, days before dismissal, he was confronted by superiors and shown pornographic movie files captured from his computer's temporary memory folders without his knowledge, and made to listen to surreptitiously taped telephone conversations in which he seeks sexual encounters with other adult men.

In dismissing him, the police alleged that some of the pornographic images showed underage individuals and that Contreras was part of a pedophile ring. Those charges were later cleared by a cyber-crimes court in 2007 and, later, by the Human Rights Commission of the Legislative Chamber of Deputies.

I've edited part of a sentence from the Santiago Times article above which gave an erroneous figure in the amount of monetary damages that Contreras is requesting. According to El Mercurio and 123, Contreras is asking for $50 million Chilean pesos in lost wages (not $5 million as the Times says) which is approximately $65K US dollars.

No comments: