Chile: Death of Pinochet is not the end of the story
Amnesty International today called on the Chilean authorities to ensure that the recent death of Augusto Pinochet is not used as an excuse to further delay legal proceedings against others suspected of torture, "disappearances" and killings under his rule.
Amongst those accused of grave human rights violations, Amnesty International published the names of 20 high-ranking Chilean officers, whose trials have still not been concluded after several years.
"Augusto Pinochet was the mastermind of human rights abuses in Chile and there is strong evidence these twenty men were directly involved in crimes such as 'disappearances', torture or killings of thousands of people in Chile and in the context of military operations across Latin America," said Virginia Shoppee Amnesty International researcher on Chile.
"The Chilean justice system failed to punish Pinochet for the serious human rights violations committed during his government. Now, it has a second chance to provide justice for the victims."
Amnesty International demands that all obstacles to justice -- particularly the amnesty law (Decree No. 2.191), which was enacted during the government of Augusto Pinochet, be declared null and void.
"These crimes cannot go unpunished nor be protected by the application of the Amnesty law, which has been used by the courts too widely and too often," said Virginia Shoppee.
Amongst the officers currently in cases before the courts are:
- General (retired) César Raúl Benavides Escobar, General (retired) Juan Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda, Brigadier (retired) Miguel Krasnoff Martchenko, Teniente Coronel (retired) Ricardo Víctor Lawrence Mires, Coronel (retired) Carlos José López Tapia, Coronel (retired) Gregorio Mardones Díaz and Mayor (retired) Luis Felipe Polanco Gallardo -- charged with homicide, kidnapping, cover up and/or complicity for their involvement in the 'Conferencia Street' military operation in 1976.
- General (retired) Juan Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda, Coronel (retired) Pedro Octavio Espinoza Bravo and Brigadier (retired) Christoph Georg Paul Willeke Floel -- charged with kidnapping in the context of the "Condor Operation" between the 1970s and 1980s.
- General (retired) Juan Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda, Coronel (retired) Pedro Octavio Espinoza Bravo, General (retired) Raúl Eduardo Iturriaga Neumann, Brigadier (retired) Miguel Krasnoff Martchenko, Teniente Coronel (retired) Ricardo Víctor Lawrence Mires, Coronel (retired) Marcelo Luis Moren Brito, Coronel (retired) Fernando Eduardo Lauriani Maturana, Suboficial Mayor (retired) Basclay Humberto Zapata Reyes and Brigadier General (retired) César Manriquez Bravo -- accused of the kidnapping and "disappearance" of 119 opposition members in the context of the "Operación Colombo".
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