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News > Latin America

Chile: Supreme Court President Meets Relatives of the Disappeared

  • Human rights groups protested outside Chile's supreme court.

    Human rights groups protested outside Chile's supreme court. | Photo: EFE

Published 9 August 2018

Relatives of the victims of the last dictatorship met with the court president to condemn the release of persons charged with crimes against humanity.

Haroldo Brito, president of Chile’s Supreme Court, met with the Group of Relatives of Disappeared Detainees Wednesday. The relatives of the victims of Chile’s last dictatorship expressed their concern over the recent rulings granting parole for convicted criminals against humanity.

Chile: Activists Protest Against Dictatorship Killers' Parole

Lorena Pizarro, the group's president, told Brito during a 20-minute-long meeting they hope “there was a change in opinion and not a change in doctrine because if we changed the human rights doctrine, then what doctrine are we facing as a country?”

On the same day, the Group of Relatives of Executed Politicians (AFEP, for its Spanish acronym) delivered a letter to Brito stressing the judges’ eagerness to provide impunity “in adherence to the promises made by president Sebastian Piñera, who gave his word to the military that he will free the perpetrators of grave, massive and systematic violations of human rights.”

AFEP members and supporters carried signs that read “All the truth. All the justice,” and condemned what they call “supreme impunity.” The group also formally requested the disqualification of justice Hugo Dolmestch, who has ruled to free convicted persons and who has said several times he intends to grant parole for former military members involved in torture, extrajudicial killings, and forced disappearances.

Chile’s Democratic Revolution party warned Wednesday they would support the constitutional accusation against the judges involved arguing “we are abandoning the international law, and that is an embarrassment for Chile in the international community, but it is also shameful give Chile’s history.”

In June, President Sebastian Piñera issued a pardon for former colonel Rene Cardemil, sentenced to 10 years in prison for executing six people in October 1973.

In late July, the second chamber of Chile’s Supreme Court ruled to release former Judge Gamaliel Soto, former soldiers Jose Quintanilla Fernandez, Hernan Portillo Aranda and Felipe Gonzalez Astorga, as well as police officer Manuel Perez Santillan. All of them involved in the torture and disappearance of 31-year-old Eduardo Alberto Gonzalez Galeno in 1973, after a military coup tragically ended the presidency of democratically elected Socialist Salvador Allende.

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