Chile: judge confirms US role in 1973 killings

Chilean investigative judge Jorge Zepeda has ruled that US intelligence agents shared responsibility for the killing of US journalist Charles Horman and US graduate student Frank Teruggi by the Chilean military in the days after the Sept. 11, 1973 coup that overthrew leftist president Salvador Allende Gossens. "US military intelligence services played a fundamental role in the murders of two US citizens in 1973, providing the Chilean military with information that brought [them] to death," Zepeda concluded in his report, which the Associated Press wire service cited on July 1. This was the first official confirmation of suspicions by Horman and Teruggi's families and friends that the US shared in the responsibility for the killings, the subject of the 1982 film "Missing."

Zepeda named retired Chilean army colonel Pedro Espinoza as the mastermind behind both murders and counterintelligence agent Rafael González Berdugo as an accomplice in Horman's death. Zepeda had requested the extradition of former US Navy Capt. Ray E. Davis in 2011 to stand trial for providing the information that led to the killings; Chile's Supreme Court of Justice upheld the request in October 2012. Apparently the courts were unaware that Davis was in fact living in Chile; he died in a Santiago nursing home in 2013. (El Nuevo Herald, July 1, from AP; The Jurist, July 2)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 6.