SANTIAGO – On Saturday, Nov. 29, the Santiago Court of Appeals overturned the convictions of 61 agents who served under Dictator Augusto Pinochet’s intelligence service DINA. They were originally convicted for their role in the notorious Colombo case, in which 119 political opponents of the dictatorship were abducted and killed. Forty-two other DINA agents were sentenced, but do not have to serve prison time.
Dozens of former members of Dictator Augusto Pinochet’s intelligence service, DINA, were acquitted on Saturday, Nov. 29, for their role in a part of the Colombo case: 30 agents, who previously were convicted as perpetrators of the abduction and killing of 16 of the 119 victims of the notorious event, as well as 31 convicted accomplices will now walk free, according to the Court of Appeals in Santiago in its ruling overturning the prior convictions.
Forty-two other former agents of the feared intelligence service were sentenced, but none of them will see prison time for this specific case due to conditional remissions. Among the convicted is Miguel Krasnoff, who is currently serving more than 150 years for human rights violations in over 91 cases.ç
The Colombo Case
Between June 1974 and January 1975, 16 members of the leftwing group Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria were kidnapped and killed. The remains of most victims were never found. Other victims in the Colombo case, not included in Saturday’s ruling, were members of the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, and several other movements.
Part of the Colombo Case was a massive misinformation campaign, which aimed to frame the deaths of the victims as a result of internal conflicts or because of foreign interference. National newspapers such as El Mercurio and La Tercera cooperated, as well as several magazines in other Latin American dictatorships.
Nelson Caucoto, lawyer for the victims’ families, called the ruling unacceptable. “What value is assigned to the lives of these 16 Chileans who were kidnapped and disappeared because of a brutal dictatorship, and whose families to this day don’t know where they are or where their remains were left? …. Dozens of victims can be kidnapped and disappeared and set free. That is impunity, pure and simple.”
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.