SANTIAGO – With the introduction of the Humanitarian Law in Chile, at least 22 human rights violators from the Pinochet-era could be released this year. The law has specified three different conditions in which inmates can be released before the end of their sentence. Despite the new law, a lawyer representing at least 80 inmates in the infamous Punta Peuco prison is still not satisfied.
According to the Humanitarian Law, inmates in Chile can be released before they complete their prison sentence, if they comply with one of the three conditions drafted up in the law. In case of an early release, an inmate will be sentenced to house arrest instead of being granted full liberty.
The three conditions in the Humanitarian Law apply to inmates who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, people who are dependent due to irrecoverable physical impairment and people who are above 75 and have completed at least half of their prison sentence.
22 Punta Peuco-inmates could be released
In Punta Peuco, the prison where human rights violators from the Pinochet-era are being kept, news about the law has been received with mix feelings. Based on the first two conditions, four criminals can be released this year.
Based upon the third condition, another 18 human rights violators could be released this year, according to Raúl Meza, a lawyer who represents at least 80 Punta Peuco prisoners. They all are older than 75 years and have completed at least half of their sentence.
Even though a large amount of the prisoners represented by Meza could be released this year, the lawyer remains dissatisfied, according to daily La Tercera. “There still will be a significant group condemned to die in prison. It is legally unacceptable to keep someone of above 75 years in jail, for the sake of human rights violations. Again, president Piñera hasn’t kept his word”.
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.