By Brendan Bergh
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
SANTIAGO, Chile – The fight against the human rights abuses committed under General Augusto Pinochet’s reign as President of Chile continues as a Chilean judge ordered the arrest and imprisonment of seven police officers for their alleged involvement in the disappearance and murder of 3 men and a child in 1973.
This is just the latest in Minister Alejandro Solis’ fight against impunity. In his final days as a judge, [he will be 75 before the end of the year] Solis has decided to prosecute seven police officers for their disappearance of Perez Godoy, 15, Jose Ramirez Diaz, 20, Catalan Pena, 20, and Vergara Gonzalez, 22.
According to judge Solis it is a crime against humanity to be affiliated with a “criminal organization which had, as its sole objective, to crack down on opponents of the military dictatorship, considered political enemies of president Augusto Pinochet.” While the victims in the particular set of offenses can hardly be considered political, their arrests and disappearance were made with such indifference and malice as to be considered a violation of human rights.
While details are sketchy it has been established that two of the victims, Vergara Gonzalez and Catalan Pena were eventually killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the month after the fall of President Salvador Allende and establishment of the military dictatorship of Pinochet, Gonzalez and Pena were travelling by van with Miriam Conteras Bell, the personal secretary of Allende. Their van was stopped by two of the now-detained officers – dressed as civilians – before being brought to a local Police station. In the days following the arrest the police denied they had been arrested, then changed their story claiming they had been released. After that all traces were lost, until their remains were identified 30 years later.
These arrests are just the latest in Chile’s fight against the remnants of Pinochet’s reign. The alleged officers who all worked at a Santiago neighborhood police station in Ñuñoa, were brought out of retirement to face charges; they were immediately detained by the PDI and brought to a detention center. This level of security was initiated as Judge Solis declared them a “danger to the security of society.”
The victims were discovered in 1991 in a mass grave in the General Cemetery of Santiago. Buried along with them were hundreds of other unidentified bodies, their bodies only having been identified in 2003 via DNA testing.
For further information, please see:
Cooperativa – Seven Former Policemen Were Remanded In Custody By Cases DD.DD. – 7 December, 2012
La Nacion – 7 Ex Police Processed By Kidnappings And Executions Of People – 7 December, 2012
La Republica – Chile: Detention Of 7 Excarabineros Ordered Death Of Four Youths in 1973 – 7 December, 2012
Terra Noticias – Court Orders Arrest Of 7 Excarabinerous Chilean Death Of 4 Young People In 1973 – 7 December, 2012
I Love Chile – Former DINA Agents Prosecuted For Crimes Against Humanity – 6 December, 2012