RealNews

Pinochet Spy Chiefs Charged in 1974 Murder Case

Five top officers in ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet’s secret police were arrested on Tuesday and charged with plotting the 1974 murder of a dissident army general in a move hailed as “historic” by human rights groups. The car bomb murder of Gen. Carlos Prats, Pinochet’s predecessor as army chief, and his wife, Sofia Cuthbert, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was the first assassination allegedly carried out by the dictatorship outside Chilean borders. Chilean Judge Alejandro Solis told reporters he indicted retired Gen. Manual Contreras, head of the dreaded DINA secret police at the time, his second-in-command, Pedro Espinoza, and three other high-ranking spies for masterminding the double homicide. All have denied the charges, lawyers said. Human rights activists said the move was a major step forward in bringing Pinochet’s agents to trial for human rights crimes, something inconceivable 10 years ago in Chile. “This is absolutely historic. This is about as high up as you can get without touching Pinochet himself,” said Sebastian Brett, senior researcher with Human Rights Watch in Chile. Prats had fled to Argentina shortly after Pinochet’s bloody 1973 coup, fearing his ties to ousted socialist President Salvador Allende made him a target of persecution. Full Story

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