Pinochet Officials Sentened In Absentia
A French court has sentenced in absentia 14 officials from the Pinochet administration in Chile to prison terms ranging from 15 years to life, for their part in the disappearance of four French nationals in the early 1970s.
Two of the sentenced, Juan Manuel Contreras Sepulveda, who was the chief of General Augusto Pinochet’s police, and Octavio Espinoza Bravo, an army colonel, were sentenced to life in prison for charges which included included kidnapping, torture and detention, reports the BBC.
Contreras is currently serving life in prison for assassinating the defense chief of Leftist president Salvador Allende, who was toppled in the Pinochet-led revolution of September 11, 1973, reports France24.
Three others were given 30-year prison sentences, six got 25 years, one received a 20-year sentence and one got 15 years. One of the accused, 77-year-old General Jose Zara Holger, was acquitted, reports the Associated Press.
While none of the officials sentenced were ever in court during the trial or sentencing, “Chile will be their prison,” said Sophie Thonon, a lawyer representing the French nationals who disappeared.
“Of course, Chile does not extradite its nationals, but Chile will be their prison – and if they cross a border, they will be arrested,” she said.
The four French nationals disappeared between in 1973 and 1975, at the beginning of General Pinochet’s 17-year rule of Chile. The disappeared are Georges Klein, a former councilor to Allende; Etienne Pesle who was in charge of Allende’s rural reforms; and Alphonse Chanfreau and Jean-Yves Claudet-Fernandez, two members of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR).
General Pinchet, who passed away at the age of 91 in a Santiago military hospital in 2006, took responsibility for actions committed under his rule.