24 Feb 2011

Court upholds Rapa Nui clan decision

1:11 pm on 24 February 2011

A Court of Appeal in Chile has upheld an earlier court decision to put criminal charges against a family clan on Rapa Nui on hold.

The Hito family had occupied the Hanga Roa Hotel on Easter Island, claiming it was built on ancestral land.

The hotel developers are trying to press charges against the occupiers but a court ruling yesterday agreed with an earlier decision that the courts must first determine who rightfully owns the land.

The family's lawyer Rodrigo Gomez, says now they can concentrate on the civil case.

"We're claiming on ownership which is our main issue here, we're not against the development against of some kind of hotels, just we want some recognition from the hotels owner in terms of recognising to whom belongs the land."

Rodrigo Gomez says he hopes the Chilean government will take note of this latest court decision.