Coronavirus in Chile Human Rights

Outbreak at Punta Peuco Prison kills two

An outbreak at the infamous Punta Peuco Prison has killed at least two inmates, with a third retired air force commander hospitalized. In response to the outbreak, an organization for retired military has filed a complaint against Justice Minister Hernán Larraín. Since the pandemic began, at least five inmates at the prison have died from coronavirus-related causes.

 A COVID-19 outbreak at Punta Peuco Prison came to light two weeks ago, when 27 inmates tested positive for the virus. Most inmates at the facility were convicted for human rights violations during the Pinochet dictatorship and are therefore older and part of one or more risk groups. Two of the infected inmates died last weekend and one remains hospitalized.

Miguel Estay Reyno was 68 years old and was serving life in prison for his role in the Degollados case ­– the death of three young Communist militants during the dictatorship.

The other deceased inmate was retired Colonel Jaime García Zamorano, 85 years old, serving a sentence for crimes against humanity.

The hospitalized inmate, 82-year-old Luis Enrique Campos Poblete, is serving a 17-year-sentence for the murder of a leader of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) in December 1974.

An organization for retired generals and colonels that is defending the rights of the imprisoned Punta Peuco inmates is filing a complaint against the state for negligence. A lawyer from the organization said that Minister of Justice Hernán Larraín is “dehumanizing” the inmates in the prison. He also claimed that proper health measures had not been taken at the prison. “We hope that Justice will operate with celerity, transparency and impartiality, and sanction this repeated unfair, insensitive and arbitrary action,” he said according to El Dinamo.

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