Human Rights NATIONAL

Court upholds sentences for killers of Allende associates

Prison sentences for those involved in the killing and disappearance of 23 associates of former president Salvador Allende were upheld. An appeals court confirmed sentences for several soldiers that killed the victims in the days after the 1973 coup. But since eight victims were never found, some verdicts relate to kidnapping rather than homicide.

A Santiago appeals court has upheld prison sentences for participants in the disappearance and killings of associates of former president Salvador Allende.

In May 2018 former military officer Pedro Octavio Espinoza Bravo was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the murder of 15 of the 23 Allende associates that were captured during the coup on Sept. 11, 1973. 

The victims were political advisers, bodyguards and Carabineros police.

Four ex-soldiers were sentenced to seven years in prison, convicted to have been  co-perpetrators in the kidnappings and killings, while two former soldiers, who are already deceased, received nine-year sentences. And two others were convicted as co-perpetrators in the kidnapping of eight victims. 

Plaintiff attorney Nelson Caucoto was quoted as saying by local media that the verdict “was sweet and sour, because 48 years later a trial of historical roots is ending.”

But Caucoto disagreed with the eight kidnapping sentences. “We trust the supreme court can rectify this sentence in that part, so that we have full justice.”

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The victims were arrested in presidential palace La Moneda and transferred to Tacna regiment. On Sept. 13, 1973, they were brought to Fort Arteaga in Peldehue and shot. Their bodies were blown up with grenades. 

They were exhumed five years later. While the bodies remain disappeared, bone fragments were found at the site, allowing authorities to identify 15 victims. The others remain disappeared completely, so no one has been charged with murder.

Among the victims were Central Bank general manager Jaime Barrios and former secretary general of Universidad de Chile, Egidio Paris.

The verdict came on the national day in honor of executed political prisoners, established in 2009. 

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