Chile refuses extradition of 10 over rights abuses

9th January 2014, Comments 0 comments

Chile's Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a decision blocking the extradition of 10 former military officers convicted in absentia in France for the torture and disappearance of four French nationals during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

The court barred the extradition of the 10 men on the grounds that they were facing criminal proceedings in Chile for crimes they were convicted of in France.

In a lower court ruling last November, Judge Rosa Maria Maggi said Chilean courts were "responsible for trying and prosecuting the lawbreakers for which extradition is requested," emphasizing the events in question "were situated within the territory of our country."

The retired officers for whom extradition was requested were convicted in Paris in December 2010 and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 15 years to life.

Two others convicted in French courts have since died, while the founder of the National Intelligence Directorate and his number two are both serving life sentences in Chile.

The charges against the men were kidnapping, arbitrary detention, torture and barbarous acts.

The accused officers who are aged between 61 and 89, were convicted for the murder of George Klein, an advisor to ex-president Salvador Allende, overthrown in the September 11, 1973 military coup that brought Pinochet to power.

They were also convicted of killing a former priest, Etienne Pesle de Menil, who worked on land reform issues, Alphonse Chanreau, leader of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) and Jean-Yves Claudet-Fernandez, a MIR member, who disappeared between 1973 and 1975.

The bodies of the four men have never been found.

More than 3,200 people were killed or "disappeared" during the 1973-1990 Pinochet dictatorship, and around 38,000 were tortured.

© 2014 AFP

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