Human Rights

53 former Pinochet agents convicted for killing of Communist Party board

SANTIAGO – 53 agents that formed part of the secret service called DINA have been convicted for kidnapping and executing eight members of the Chilean Communist Party during the military dictatorship. The case became nationally known as the Calle Conferencia I case, as the party members were kidnapped from a house in Calle Conferencia street near Estación Central station. Among those convicted is Miguel Krassnoff Matchenko, who gets 20 years added to his current 700 years prison sentence.

Officers from the DINA, the secret police service of former dictator Augusto Pinochet, kidnapped the Communist Party-members, who were all leaders of the party, in May 1976, during a secret meeting of the board in a safehouse in Calle Conferencia street near Estación Central.

They were brought to detention centers such as Villa Grimaldi, where they were tortured and killed. Some party members were tortured with experimental methods, such as sarin gas. According to the investigation, their bodies were later dumped in the ocean.

Among the leaders was Víctor Díaz, second in command of the then clandestine operating Communist Party. Before he was killed, he received a personal visit from Pinochet himself, in a detention center in La Reina. He was executed by cyanide injection. His daughter Viviana Díaz is a human rights activist and the current president of the Association of the Relatives of the Disappeared.

The sentences for the convicted DINA officers vary between three and 20 years in prison. The Chilean state was condemned to compensate the relatives of the victims with CLP$ 3.46 billion (US$5.17 million).

Among those convicted is Miguel Krassnoff Matchenko, who currently is serving a 700-year prison sentence. The notorious DINA agent received a polemic tribute earlier this year during a ceremony at Escuela Militar, causing the director of the military school to step down.

Chilean army pays homage to convicted war criminal at Escuela Militar [+ VIDEO]


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