Pinochet-era se­cret po­lice im­pris­oned

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

MORE than 100 for­mer mem­bers of the se­cre­tive Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Direc­torate, Dina, un­der Chilean dic­ta­tor Au­gusto Pinochet, are fac­ing jail time for the kid­nap­ping and mur­der of 16 peo­ple be­long­ing to dis­si­dent left-wing move­ments.

The sen­tence was is­sued on Fri­day against 106 se­cret po­lice of­fi­cers be­long­ing to “Op­er­a­tion Colombo” dur­ing the years that fol­lowed the 1973 over­throw of demo­crat­i­cally-elected Pres­i­dent Sal­vador Al­lende, when Pinochet was con­sol­i­dat­ing his US-backed mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment.

Judge Her­nan Cris­toso ruled that the 16 killed be­longed ei­ther to the so­cial­ist party or left­ist groups like the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Left Move­ment, MIR. Those killed had been abducted be­fore be­ing trans­ferred to tor­ture cen­tres in the Chilean cap­i­tal, San­ti­ago.

The 16 are among over 3 000 peo­ple who faced en­forced dis­ap­pear­ances and mur­der by the Pinochet gov­ern­ment, which acted in league with neigh­bour­ing gov­ern­ments in Ar­gentina, Brazil and other South Amer­i­can na­tions through “Op­er­a­tion Con­dor”, a Cold War­era cam­paign across Latin Amer­ica that re­sulted in tens of thou­sands of ac­tivist deaths.

The US sup­ported the right-wing gov­ern­ments dur­ing its competition with the Soviet Union, which it feared was un­der­min­ing US in­ter­ests in the re­gion through its own sup­port for left-wing groups.

Chile has been at­tempt­ing to grap­ple with its au­thor­i­tar­ian past as judges and gov­ern­ment fig­ures in­crease con­vic­tions of Pinochet-era of­fi­cials found to have com­mit­ted hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions.

The 106 for­mer agents have been sen­tenced to be­tween 541 days and 20 years in jail, where they will join other for­mer state se­cu­rity per­son­nel serv­ing time. teleSUR

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