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  • The Chilean ex-brigadier Miguel Krassnoff is one of the former agents sentenced for the disappearance of three students.

    The Chilean ex-brigadier Miguel Krassnoff is one of the former agents sentenced for the disappearance of three students. | Photo: EFE

Published 30 March 2019

The judge charged the former agents as being the authors of the disappearance of three Philosophy students of Chile University in 1976. 

A Chilean judge sentenced Thursday Miguel Krassnoff and Pedro Espinoza, ex-agents of the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA), to eight years of imprisonment for the kidnapping and disappearance of three Philosophy students in 1976.

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The judge in charge of violations of human rights for the Court of Appeals of Santiago, Mario Carroza, charged the former agents as being the authors of the disappearance of Oscar Valdivia,  Luis Nuñez, and Rodrigo Medina, philosophy students of Chile University and militants of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR). 

The new sentence will be compounded to Espinoza and Krassnoff’s previous charges now amounting to the total sum of up to 600 years in jail. Krassnoff, a former soldier and student of the infamous School of the Americas, has been charged for the kidnappings and murders of various victims during Pinochet's repressive dictatorship. While Espinoza is known for the murder of Orlando Letelier, a former minister of Salvador Allende, in Washington D.C.

Rodrigo Medina (left), Oscar Valdivia (center), and Luis Nuñez (right) were MIR militants and students kidnapped by DINA. Photos: Chile University Radio

The investigation established that Valdivia, a 27-year-old militant of MIR and the Federation of Evening Students, was arrested on May 26, 1976, during the afternoon, as he made the journey between his home and grandparents’ house in Santiago. That same day, Nuñez, a 24-year-old student, also a militant, was arrested on the street after taking an exam in his faculty. 

The next day, student Medina, 18, was also apprehended on the street by Pinochet’s intelligence agents. The ruling indicates, from accounts of survivors from Villa Grimaldi (a major torture and detention center), that “the three victims were last seen inside the Terranova barracks months after their arrest,” after their whereabouts were lost. 

The three victims join the statistics of more than 3,200 people killed during the 1973 - 1990 U.S.-backed Chilean dictatorship, according to official figures. Of those murdered, 1,192 are still listed as disappeared.

As part of the ruling, the state now must pay a total of 200 million pesos (about US$ 294,000) of compensation to the families of the victims. In the last two decades, there has been a significant advancement in apprehending and ruling against Pincohet’s operatives. 

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