On Wednesday, Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera defended the pardons that he granted to 10 convicted criminals who participated in the torture, murder, and disappearance of political opponents during the Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1990).
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Previously, the Association of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared (AFDD) filed a legal appeal before the Court of Appeals to seek the annulment of the 2020 pardon decree.
"The pardon is lawful since the law does not contemplate cause to deny pardons to those convicted of human rights violation. The President acted under the law and in his executive capacity", Deputy Minister of the Presidency Maximo Pavez said at the Court of Appeals.
Besides maintaining that the AFDD legal recourse was submitted untimely, the Piñera administration holds that the pardon decree did not eliminate the sentences but only allowed the detainees to serve the remainder of their sentences in home detention.
The decree "infringes legal obligations to which the State has subscribed at the international level", AFDD Chairman Lorena Pizarro stated, adding that the pardons constitute an "illegal and arbitrary act that violates the right to psychological integrity and due process for the victims of forced detention".
While the Piñera administration insists on the probity of its actions, the Chilean lawmakers are unable to come together to enact a bill that grants amnesty to those citizens who participated in the 2019 social outbreak and who continue to be imprisoned.
Their relatives have been on a hunger strike for over a week demanding the approval of that standard. Piñera, however, warned that he would veto the pardon if it is approved.