Belgian tourists risk prison time after vandalising Chilean historic site
Monday, 04 March 2019
Created by successive local cultures, including the Inca and Tiwanaku civilizations, the Atacama giant is 119 metres long and dates back to the 11th century.
Three Belgian tourists suspected of having damaged a protected historic site in Chile, risk 5 million euro fine respectively and three years in prison.
Their defence lawyer is pleading for the prison sentence to be reduced to 60 days and a lower fine, reported De Standaard.
The three tourists, Wanda Larrocha Lopez, Esteban Vilugron Silva and Nikolaou Panagiota are accused of having vandalised a national monument of much historic significance.
The Atacama giant is an anthropomorphic geoglyph situated in the Atacama desert. It depicts a deity – rain god – for the local inhabitants living in the area between 1000 to 1400 AD, which included the Inca culture. With a length of 119 metres, it is the largest artwork carved into the landscape.
Besides being a tribute to their deity, the geoglyph also served as an astronomical calendar, to help guide the locals determine where the moon would set. In so it helped in planning crop cycles and when the rainy seasons started.
The tourists are believed to have driven their car over the geoglyph, causing irreparable damage. The prosecutor, Hardy Torres, said that a major renovation would be likely, but that the costs are estimated to reach between 15 and 25 million dollars.