Human Rights

Protests against liberation of Pinochet’s criminals

SANTIAGO – Protests erupted last Tuesday, as the Supreme Court agreed the liberation of criminals, convicted for human rights violations during Pinochet’s dictatorship. Leaders of socialist and communist parties chained themselves to one of the court’s columns as a protest measure. Carabineros de Chile arrested protesters.

The Supreme Court of Chile responded to appeals for the liberation of seven people convicted for crimes against humanity during Augusto Pinochet’s office. The measure triggered a protest, and caused outrage among the victims’ families and human rights activists. Outside the court, dozens of people carried victims’ photographs and allusive banners. They took over the streets to show discontent about the decision that according to them favors impunity.

Representatives of the Disappeared Detainees’ Families Group AFDD (Spanish acronym), and the Politics Executed Families group AFEP, summoned in front of the court to express their feelings about the liberation of criminals. The two groups are aimed to fight for the justice regarding the assassinations occurred during 1973 and 1990, when General Augusto Pinochet was on power.

Protesters cheered against magistrate Hugo Dolmestch, one of the integrant of the court who granted the freedom to the inmates. According to the press, Lorena Pizarro, president of the AFDD, said that “the government, just like it used to do during the years of dictatorship, has taken a political position in favor of impunity”

Already six inmates released

Deputy Guillermo Teillier, from the Communist Party (Partido Comunista), said that a formal accusation against the minister that voted in favor is going on. Besides, socialist deputies Jaime Naranjo and Gastón Saavedra met with the Supreme Court’s president Haroldo Brito, to whom they delivered a letter arguing the inmates’ excarcelacion. According to news BioBio Chile, six of the seven inmates have already been put out of jail.

On last Tuesday, retired Colonel Moisés Retamal was released from prison. Retamal was impeached for kidnapping three Uruguayan citizens in 1973 and sentenced to 6 years in prison. The Army’s ex-Brigadier Emilio de la Mahotiere was also put out of jail. The ex-Brigadier was sentenced to three years for complicity and uncovering of opposition leaders’ murders. Both of them have already complied a half of their sentences.

Four Chilean Army’s ex-officials and one ex-police officer were also liberated from prison. They had been condemned for the complicity and covering up the kidnaps of three opposition militants. The activists defined the court’s decision as a grave mistake, as the international legislation established impediments and conditions for any kind of benefit for the liberation of inmates impeached of human violation crimes.

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