SANTIAGO – The Chilean Gendarmerie has filed a list of prisoners to be considered for parole. The 15 people on the list are ex-military members who were convicted for human rights violations during the dictatorship of Pinochet. The Ministry of Justice will decide whether or not they will be accepted.
The Chilean Gendarmerie filed a document on Oct. 7 in front of the Constitutional Court containing a list of names of prisoners from Punta Peuco prison that will be considered for parole.
The document, revealed by the Bio Bio Research Unit, contains a list of 15 ex-military officers who were convicted for human rights violations during Pinochet’s dictatorship. The crimes for which they convicted were in many cases as serious as torture and murder.
A group of magistrates will firstly evaluate the list. Then, it is up to the Ministry of Justice to decide whether the prisoners should be allowed to be released conditionally.
Punta Peuco is a notorious facility which was built specifically to detain prisoners who committed acts which violated human rights during the dictatorship. Although Michelle Bachelet promised to transfer the inmates to other prisons and close it down, the prison still operates today.
One of the most prominent names on the list is Álvaro Corbalán.
Corbalán was a former chief operating at the National Information Center (CNI), an intelligence agency and political police force that operated during Pinochet’s dictatorship. The organization was responsible for the kidnapping, murder and disappearance of political opponents during that time.
He was also heavily involved with the slaughter of 12 members of the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front (FPMR), known as “Operation Albania.”
Over 50 CNI agents participated in the murder of the FPMR members. They intended to wipe out the guerilla group in one singular massacre.
Corbalán infamously was responsible for the death of Juan Alegría Mundaca. The victim was forced to write a false suicide note in which he “confessed” to the murder of Tucapel Jiménez Alfaro, President of the National Association of Fiscal Employees. CNI agents then slit his wrists and let him bleed to death to give the appearance that he killed himself.
Corbalán was sentenced in 2000 for life imprisonment for the murder of Juan Alegría Mundaca, as well as receiving multiple subsequent convictions for kidnappings and other homicides which led to an additional 100 years in prison.
The communist deputy, Carmen Hertz, expressed her concern that “criminals who have committed genocides or acts against humanity are running for parole, and that these Gendarmerie nominations have been enforced before the Constitutional Court. This is extremely serious, because for us, as it was clearly established in the Conditional Freedom Act, parole is a prison benefit, not a right.”
The human rights lawyer Francisco Bustos explained that “although it is true the law allows even those convicted of crimes against humanity to access this benefit, care must be taken that does not mean impunity.”
Ana Truesdale is a British student, studying Liberal Arts at Durham Univeristy, who is currently interning at Chile Today on her year abroad. She has a strong interest in Latin American culture and journalism and wishes to experience all that Chile has to offer.