Chile: judge rejects prosecution of ex-general

Chilean judge Mario Carroza on Aug. 5 rejected a request by human rights lawyer Eduardo Contreras to prosecute former general Fernando Matthei for murder. Matthei oversaw the military facility where Gen. Alberto Bachelet was tortured to death in 1973 after Bachelet refused to support the military coup lead by Augusto Pinochet. Contreras has attempted to bring charges against Matthei before and argued that new evidence has come to light which shows that Matthei was aware of Banchelet’s death. However, Carroza ruled that there were insufficient grounds to prosecute. Contreras frequently represents families who were victimized during Pinochet’s regime and has stated his intention to appeal the decision. Both of the generals’ daughters, Evelyn Matthei and Michelle Bachelet, are opponents in the upcoming Chilean presidential election.

From Jurist, Aug. 7. Used with permission.

  1. Chile: colonels impris for torturing Bachelet’s father

    Two retired Chilean colonels have been sentenced to prison for repeatedly torturing Gen. Alberto Bachelet, the father of current President Michelle Bachelet, in 1973. Gen. Bachelet died in 1974 of a heart attack caused by the torture inflicted on him. The former air force colonels—Ramon Caceres Jorquera and Edgar Ceballos Jones—were given three and two years in prison respectively. Chilean government spokesman Alvaro Elizalde said the ruling was "one more step" to address the truth and justice that the country needed.

    But a man who was tortured by Ceballos, Sergio Santos, told the AP news agency that the sentences were too lenient. "I think it seems a bit ridiculous, that after all the years of repression, torture against hundreds of people from different organisations, they get three years," he said.

    More than 3,000 people were killed and up to 40,000 tortured during Gen. Augusto Pinochet's 17-year rule. (BBC News, Nov. 21)