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News > Chile

Chile: Torturer of Ex-President Michelle Bachelet's Father Dies

  • Michelle Bachelet at the 26th Ibero-American Summit in Cartagena, Colombia, Oct. 29, 2016.

    Michelle Bachelet at the 26th Ibero-American Summit in Cartagena, Colombia, Oct. 29, 2016. | Photo: EFE

Published 28 February 2019

Alberto Bachelet was imprisoned and tortured until his death in 1974 for dissenting against the U.S.-backed dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

The torturer of General Alberto Bachelet, father of former Chilean president and current United Nations Human Rights Council High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet father, has died at the age of 87 Thursday.

Chile Frees Pinochet Agent Who Tortured, Killed President Bachelet's Father

Retired Chilean Air Force Colonel Edgar Cevallos Jones was one of two men convicted for the torture and inhumane treatment of the former general who was imprisoned in 1973 and died while incarcerated in 1974. Cevallos Jones was one of the top leaders of the "Joint Command", a repressive organization composed of agents from all branches of the Chilean Armed Forces and Carabineros, which was responsible for numerous cases of disappearances, homicides, and torture.

The military leader was convicted alongside Ramon Caceres Jorquera 40 years after the fact in 2014 for perpetrating torture. The two received four years of imprisonment and absolute disqualification of political rights. In another trial, he was sentenced to an additional 22 years in prison. A few years ago, his defense lawyers requested his pardon from President Sebastian Piñera, who declined to issue it.

However, in April 2017 special judge Mario Carroza allowed the release of Colonel Cevallos Jones due to dementia, authorizing house arrest instead.

According to the 2014 ruling, the officers "proceeded to inflict on Bachelet intentionally a cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment through physical and mental constraints, which gradually caused a progressive deterioration of his health and particularly of his heart disease, which would have inevitably caused him to die."

"One less of Pinochet's accomplices left! Many of them are in Chile's Government now! Including Sebastian Pinera. The torturer of former President Bachelet's father died. Edgar Cevallos Jones was held responsible for the illegitimate mistreatment given to Aviation General Alberto Bachelet from his arrest til his death in Mar. 1974."

The court document specified that "there was a direct and obvious relationship between the death of the victim and his last interrogation since this is what ultimately triggered the decompensation of his heart pathology, secondary to a previous physical and mental stress."

Alberto Bachelet, a general who worked with the socialist President Salvador Allende (1970-1973), died in jail in the capital, Santiago, where he had been periodically transferred to and subsequently tortured. 

The general had opposed the U.S.-backed military coup, which put General Augusto Pinochet in power in 1973. After being accused of "treason to the homeland" and imprisoned, Bachelet died in 1974, as a result of the torture that his own comrades-in-arms inflicted on him at the Air War Academy (AGA) where he was detained following the bloody coup.

His wife, Angela Jeria, and her daughter Michelle Bachelet, who was then a medical student, were detained in 1975 and tortured by agents of Pinochet’s secret police, the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA). 

After remaining exiled in Australia and East Germany, Bachelet's daughter returned to Chile in the late 1970s, resumed her medical studies, and participated in clandestine political activities against Pinochet’s dictatorship.

Michelle was the first woman elected to serve as Chile’s President from 2006 to 2010. Due to Chilean people's support, she also served a second presidential term from 2014 to 2018.

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