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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Chile judge indicts 13 retired military officers for 1973 death squad tour
Greg Sampson at 10:45 AM ET

[JURIST] Chilean Judge Victor Montiglio on Tuesday announced indictments and ordered the arrests of 13 retired Chilean military officers accused of directly participating in the Caravan of Death [BBC backgrounder], one of the most notorious events during the reign of former dictator Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The Caravan of Death occurred in the month following Pinochet's Semptember 1973 coup. In that month, a group of military officers toured various provinces throughout Chile, killing those who opposed Pinochet's rule. In the end, military officers killed as many as 75 dissidents, many of whom had turned themselves in to authorities. The officers indicted on Tuesday are accused of serving in military regiments visited by the group of officers and of participating in executions and burials of dissidents.

In January, an appeals court in Chile also cleared the way [JURIST report] for prosecutors to charge Pinochet for his role in the Caravan of Death. Pinochet is also accused of corruption and tax evasion [JURIST reports], and in another January ruling an appeals court ruled that he was competent to stand trial for his role in the 1975 Operation Columbo [JURIST report] massacre. AP has more. From Santiago, Jorge Escalante of La Nacion has more.

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