Chile: 18 former dictatorship agents convicted of murder

Santiago, Chile, Nov 29 (Prensa Latina) The Supreme Court of Justice on Monday confirmed the conviction of 18 former agents of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990) for the kidnapping and murder of Marta Ugarte, a teacher and member of the Communist Party.

Ugarte was arrested on August 9, 1976, in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago and was taken to a clandestine center, where she was interrogated, tortured and later executed.

Her body was thrown into the sea from an army helicopter and was found on La Ballena beach, in northern Chile, days later.

The Chilean justice system sentenced Ricardo Lawrence Mires, Heriberto del Carmen Acevedo and Claudio Pacheco Fernandez, former agents of the former National Intelligence Directorate (DINA, Pinochet’s secret police), to 25 years in prison for committing the crime.

Ten other former DINA members must serve 10 years in prison for their participation in the kidnapping, and five received shorter sentences as accomplices and accessories.

The Court ruled that the murder of the teacher was politically motivated, solely because she belonged to the Communist Party, and described this act as a crime against humanity that does not prescribe under Chilean law.

During the Pinochet dictatorship, more than 3,000 murders, 40,000 human rights violations, 28,000 tortured people were reported, and some 200,000 individuals were forced to exile.

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