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Chile condemns 22 former agents for crimes under military dictatorship

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Chile condemns 22 former agents for crimes under military dictatorship

Nearly thirty years after the end of Chile's military dictatorship, the country's Supreme Court on Monday condemned 22 former Augusto Pinochet secret police officers for the qualified abduction of two opponents, whose names were included in Operation Colombo, set up by the regime to cover up the disappearance of 119 political prisoners.

The sentences involve the principal agents of the National Intelligence Directorate (Dina), Pinochet's secret police. On the list are names like General Raúl Iturriaga Neumann and Brigadiers Pedro Espinoza Bravo and Miguel Krassnoff Martchenko.

All of them are currently serving long prison sentences for participating in human rights violations during Pinochet's period of power between 1973 and 1990.

The victims of the abduction are Héctor Zúñiga Tapia and Bernardo de Castro López, leftist militants who were arrested in mid-September 1974.

César Manríquez Bravo, Pedro Espinoza Bravo and Miguel Krassnoff Martchenko were sentenced to ten years in prison for being considered the perpetrators of the abduction and subsequent disappearance of Tapia, a member of the Revolutionary Left Movement. Another five officers were sentenced for the crimes.

For the kidnapping of Socialist Party activist López, the court sentenced to ten years César Manríquez Bravo, Pedro Espinoza Bravo, Gerardo Urrich González, Manuel Carevic Cubillos and Raúl Iturriaga Neumann.

In 1975, the names of Tapia and López were included among the victims of Operation Colombo, an action wrought by DINA to cover up the disappearance of 119 political prisoners, with the support of agents from Argentina and Brazil.

In both countries, single editions of non-existent newspapers were published, stating that both died in purges made by the Revolutionary Left Movement in Argentine and Brazilian territories.

During Pinochet's dictatorship, some 3,200 people were killed by state agents, of which more than 1,100 are still missing. Another 40,000 were arrested and tortured for political reasons.

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