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  • Memoria y Justicia - In Focus-Pisagua
    in prison rather than the death penalty because the dead cannot be resucitated and sooner or later there would come a time when the War Council trials at Pisagua would be the subject of an historic investigation The Commander turned to me and replied that it was clear that I was on the opposing side but his conscience was completely at ease because he had been advised by the Military Prosecutor and in any case he would not sign anything contrary to the Military Justice Code Efforts by the auditor and the defense attorney to save the prisoners were to no avail The four Socialist leaders were shot at 6 00 AM the next morning Their bodies were not among those found in the mass grave discovered in 1990 and remain disappeared to this day The individuals executed by the Second War Council were Rodolfo Jacinto Fuenzalida Fernandez 43 Socialist Party regional secretary who was arrested September 11 1973 in his home Juan Antonio Ruz Diaz 32 Socialist Party member and Iquique customs employee who presented himself voluntarily to the Telecommunications Regiment Jose Demostenes Rosier Sampson Ocaranza 33 Iquique municipal government public relations officer who voluntarily presented himself to Iquique police on Septiember 21 1973 Freddy Marcelo Taberna Gallegos 30 Director of the Regional Planning Office in Iquique and Socialist Party member who also voluntarily presented himself to the Telecommunications Regiment on September 16 1973 Return to top Discovery of the Mass Grave On May 31 1990 the Vicariate of Solidarity filed a complaint with the Pozo Almonte Criminal Court The action denounced illegal interrment in the northwestern perimeter of Pisagua Cemetery and led to a judicial investigation Information provided by witnesses of the executions at Pisagua from September 1973 to June 1974 provided the clues as did several local people who knew about the existence of a clandestine grave See Doctor Alberto Neumann s declaration On June 1 1990 magistrate Nelson Muñoz convened at the site accompanied by an anthropologist an archeologist a chemical engineer court officials excavators and witnesses During that initial day of work they unearthed human remains from an ancient period of time evidence of a pre Colombian burial ground The next day June 2 upon excavating another area the mass grave was found In the same place along a slope facing the ocean where they were shot the prisoners stuffed into burlap sacks had been flung into a mass grave then covered with lime and dirt See Pisagua Grave Site Map Eventually 20 bundles were unearthed in the pit which measured 2 10 meters wide 11 meters long and 2 00 meters deep The salt that impregnated the sand preserved the bodies as they were when the men were brought before the firing squad hands tied behind their backs The clothes they wore the day of the execution were intact as were their blindfolds The indisputable evidence of the impact of bullets represented a clear condemnation of Pinochet and the regional military commanders of the time The bodies corresponded to persons who had been executed including prisoners who military officials claimed to have released However the remains of some of the persons executed in 1973 did not appear in the pit and excavators found bodies of other prisoners whose deaths had never been officially recognized Of the persons whose executions had been recognized by authorities but were not in the mass grave seven corresponded to the Socialist Party leadership of Iquique executed by order of the War Council of October 29 1973 Nor did the mass grave contain the remains of three other persons executed under the guise of a false escape These missing remains led to a search throughout the perimeter of the Pisagua Cemetary and the judicial investigation headed by Sanchez Marre The Sanchez Marre investigation was interrupted by a jurisdictional challenge from the military courts The case was transferred to the Seventh Military Court of Arica which applied the amnesty law to close the proceedings in 1992 Return to top Judicial History of the Pisagua Case Based on an interview with attorney Adil Brkovic The executions at Pisagua have been the object of several judicial investigations The first criminal complaints were filed by the families of individuals who military officials claimed to have freed but who were in fact never seen again It is not coincidental that this group of families was the first to file legal actions With the exception of the six persons alleged to have been released from the prison military officials formally acknowledged the executions carried out at Pisagua General Forrestier informed the local press of all executions attributing them to different causes He would say these people were executed becuase they attempted to escape or these were condemned to death by a War Council The public was informed and there was a certainty as to the deaths of these people With these six cases there could be no political justification Everyone knew they had no political ties but rather were connected to black market trade These families were the first to file criminal complaints demanding an investigation into the fate of their loved ones who according to military officials had been set free None of these complaints filed in the late 1970s and early 1980s led to investigations During the course of the investigation conducted by Sanchez Marre not a single Army officer who had been at Pisagua was asked to testify Nevertheless the investigation constituted an important source of information and formed a legal basis for the criminal complaint filed in 1998 with Judge Juan Guzman at the Santiago Court of Appeals In 1998 attorneys Adil Brkovic and Alfonso Insunza initiated proceedings by filing two criminal complaints against Augusto Pinochet on behalf of Michel Nash and Freddy Taberna respectively both executed at Pisagua The cases aim to first locate the bodies not yet found and second bring to light criminal participation in the deaths Attorney Adil Brkovic indicates If we compare the investigation conducted by Sanchez

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  • Memoria y Justicia - In Focus-Caravan of Death
    La Serena Return to top A General Resigns On October 18 1973 Arellano arrived in Antofagasta While he was spending the night at the home of General Joaquin Lagos commander of the Army 1 st Division and zone chief in State of Siege his group was in the process of killing fourteen prisoners Disregarding hierarchy and operating behind the back of Lagos who was his superior officer Arellano set in motion the massacre planned for Antofagasta with collaboration from the local Military Intelligence Service and several officers subordinate to Lagos At the time of the events not only was Lagos commander Army 1st Division but was also designated Governor of the province after the coup Upon request of Arellano Colonel Adrian Ortiz Gutmann an officer under Lagos made available two trucks for taking out the prisoners that night Fifty six persons were executed in Lagos jurisdiction 16 in Copiapo on October 17 in Antofagasta 14 were executed on October 19 and 26 were machine gunned in Calama in the early hours of October 19 The military men exercised particular brutality often slicing prisoners with machetes before shooting them When asked why he did not return the bodies to the corresponding families for burial General Lagos explained that he was too ashamed for relatives to discover how Army officers had barbarously slaughtered the 14 men See List of Persons Executed by the Caravan of Death Not until the morning of October 19 after Arellano had taken his leave did Joaquin Lagos learn what had happened that night Some 28 years later recalling that moment on national television Lagos remarked I felt hurt powerless and angry that a criminal action of this nature that had been committed in my jurisdictional zone and behind my back That same day he requested a meeting with Pinochet who had stopped momentarily in Antofagasta on his way north and asked him to accept his resignation Lagos remembers that after he denounced the executions the commander in chief picked up the telephone to call Arellano in Iquique When he failed to locate him Pinochet left the following message Tell general Arellano not to do anything more It is believed that Lagos denunciation brought a halt to the spiral of murders On November 1 1973 Pinochet returned to Lagos the report he had prepared about what had happened in his zone ordering him to omit all reference to what Sergio Arellano Stark had done as his Official Delegate In 1999 retired general Joaquin Lagos acknowledged that he had been compelled to alter the report He also revealed that he had taken the precaution of keeping the original document rejected by Pinochet More than 27 years later thanks to the foresight of Lagos the two documents could be compared Lagos indicated that on the bottom of the page listing the persons executed Pinochet ordered him to erase the phrase under orders of the Delegate of the Commander in chief and place his own signature In that way Lagos could be held responsible for the crimes committed in his jurisdictional zone When called to testify before Judge Juan Guzman both Pinochet January 23 2001 and Arellano 1999 affirmed that responsibility for the killings lay with the regiment directors an implicit reference to retired general Joaquin Lagos Despite their maneuvers to evade their responsibility on June 1999 Guzman indicted Caravan of Death members including their Arellano and in 2000 accused Pinochet as abettor of the crimes Return to top Case History Attorneys Juan Bustos Carmen Hertz Hugo Gutierrez Eduardo Contreras Alfonso Insunza Hiram Villagra The Military Junta s Decree Law N 5 created a new interpretation of article 418 of the Military Justice Code in which state of siege became synonymous with state of internal war Eduardo Contreras a plaintiff attorney in the case explains this was intended to justify the war councils and avoid fair trials in civil courts The intent was to give themselves license to kill What the Junta did not realize was that in doing so it was already laying the groundwork for its future condemnation in court By invoking the War Statutes as of September 11 1973 Chile s Military Justice Code came into effect but also the Geneva Conventions which prohibit summary executions of war prisoners Since the Supreme Court s 1998 recognition of the preeminence of the Geneva Conventions not a single crime has been subjected to the amnesty law This was one of the factors that made possible the achievements gains in the Caravan of Death case See Avenues and Obstacles to Justice Key moments in the case January 22 1998 The first criminal complaint was filed against Augusto Pinochet for the crimes committed by the military delegation headed by Sergio Arellano Stark The family of lawyer Hector Mario Silva executed Antofagasta filed the complaint on October 19 1973 June 25 1998 The Association of Relatives of Executed Political Prisoners of filed the second complaint in connection with the Caravan of Death Calama for the abduction and murder of 26 persons in Calama October 19 1973 June 8 1999 The Santiago Court of Appeals indicted five members of the Caravan of Death Sergio Arellano Stark Marcelo Moren Brito Pedro Espinoza Bravo and Sergio Arredondo Gonzalez for the abduction and homicide of 19 persons August 8 2000 The full Supreme Court in a vote of 16 in favor and 4 opposed confirmed the removal of congressional immunity from Augusto Pinochet due to probable cause of his involvement as author accomplice or abettor in the Caravan of Death December 1 2000 Judge Juan Guzman indicted Augusto Pinochet as coauthor of the crimes of aggravated abduction and first degree murder committed by the Caravan of Death in La Serena Copiapo Calama and Antofagasta The ruling included 18 executed prisoners whose remains had not been found and 57 whose remains were located identified and given to their families July 9 2001 The Sixth Chamber of the Court of Appeals ordered the temporary and partial dismissal of lifetime

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  • Memoria y Justicia - In Focus-Pisagua
    one of hundreds of persons forcibly disappeared in Chile Numerous witnesses who like Llido were prisoners at Jose Domingo Cañas have testified in court that the priest was severely tortured We highlight the testimonies of Julio Laks Feller and his wife Rosalia Martinez Cereceda who shared a prison cell with Antonio Llido Testimony of Julio Laks Feller and Rosalia Martinez Cereceda Julio Laks testified before the Spanish consulate on November 27 1977 Laks recognized that the conditions of detention made it difficult to measure the lapse of time accounting for the discrepancy in dates His testimony forms part of the criminal complaint as cited below Between September 26 and 30 of the same year 1974 Fr Antonio Llido Mengual was placed in our cell Over the course of two or three days Fr Llido was taken from the cell many times for interrogation Each time he returned in worse physical condition After three days he moved with great difficulty due to the pain inflicted in torture His shirt was stained in blood and he apparently had internal hemorrhages and torn muscles On one occasion a doctor who worked for the DINA examined his vital signs and recommended immediate hospitalization In response to the doctor s urgent recommendation the official whose last name was Morel Marcelo Moren Brito responded that this was impossible as the interrogations had not finished The doctor insisted in vain expressing his sense of powerlessness and indignation Despite his physical state and the abuse inflicted by DINA agents who grossly mocked his condition as priest he found strength to console his cellmates sharing his crusts of bread or fruit peels to help us survive Concerning her detention with Antonio Llido Rosalia Martinez Cereceda stated in her own sworn testimony of December 19 1999 There I also met the Spanish priest Antonio Llido He was accused of having hidden and protected people of the MIR who were persecuted Antonio Llido never denied this saying that he could not lie to them The guards would laugh at him and commented that when Antonio Llido was being tortured he was asked to name people and he would say that he could not give them the names And why not the guards asked Because of my principles Antonio replied in his Spanish accent which the guards imitated In the second week of October 1974 Julio Laks was transferred to Cuatro Alamos A few days later from the window of his cell he saw Antonio Llido arrive and placed in the adjoining cell number 13 His state of health was somewhat better but he suffered great pain as Icould note from his gestures Julio Laks never saw him again Return to top That one s not a priest he s a Marxist On November 13 1974 General Augusto Pinochet granted a rare interview to an interfaith group of clergy members of the Pro Paz Committee founded in the weeks following the coup to aid people in detention Monsignor Fernando Ariztia Lutheran Bishop

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  • Memoria y Justicia - In Focus-Caravan of Death
    CP members of various editorial and printing professions Among the people taken to Villa Grimaldi and who disappeared subsequent to their detention Guillermo Martinez Quijon Oscar Ramos Garrido Oscar Ramos Vivanco and Juan Aurelio Villarroel Zarate Vicente Atencio Cortes former member of Congress and also member of the PC Central Committee was arrested August 11 1976 and was taken to Villa Grimaldi Return to top Witnesses to Atrocity Former prisoners living witnesses of the cruelty unleashed in the Villa Grimaldi country estate and other persons associated with the Parque por la Paz project founded in December 10 1994 tell this story Raul Flores arrested and imprisoned at Villa Grimaldi in December 1975 is a member of the Parque por la Paz Committee Pisagua corresponds to the initial phase in which the dictatorship was installing itself in the country and employed forms of mass wide scale repression Hundreds of thousands were arbitrarily and indiscriminately arrested and imprisoned in Pisagua the National Stadium Chile Stadium and Chacabuco Prison Camp Villa Grimaldi corresponds to the next phase when the dictatorship sought to prevent the resurgence of popular organizations The objective was to prevent the younger leaders and party members from re organizing The policy was one of more selective repression In Pisagua and the Caravan of Death members of the Armed Forces participated with their full ranks files and war councils The Armed Forces openly exhibited their faces of repressors How do DINA agents operate from Villa Grimaldi They operate with political names and aliases At Villa Grimaldi they conceal their identities in a more sophisticated repressive policy that includes concealment of the prisoners and of the bodies of the people they execute Luis Santibañez President of the Parque por la Paz Corporation until 2003 was one of the architects who designed the Parque por la Paz Atrocities were committed in Pisagua but in Villa Grimaldi atrocity was the system It was not that atrocities were sometimes committed Torture was the daily system within that atrocity The functionaries who participated at Villa Grimaldi were trained torturers trained at the School of the Americas We have discovered that the method of atrocity was neither casual nor the result of rage or madness What has impressed us most is that they considered it normal and routine What they were doing was good and they did it for the sake of the country Facile explanations arise to produce oblivion to avoid confronting things They say someone just went too far or this was the work of madmen Or it was the consequence of the climate of convulsion produced by the Popular Unity government Therefore those who produced the convulsion are to blame Those are all easy justifications intended to avoid the truth The truth is that Villa Grimaldi was not the result of a few excesses or madness It was a system Rodrigo Del Villar was imprisoned at Villa Grimaldi four months beginning in January 1975 Villa Grimaldi was a place of experimentation They started out brutally and then the guys began to learn how to do their jobs better Torture was not sophisticated There is nothing sophisticated about making someone stick his head in a plastic bag The method was so elementary that when the United Nations inspectors came it was easy to conceal what was going on there The torturers concealed their own identity as well as the identity of each prisoner The main thing was that the prisoner was no longer a person We were all given numbers mine was 83 and we were always called by those numbers never by our names The intent was to deprive us of our individual personalities The aim was to transform you into a substance that could be easily managed I think that was part of the policy behind making people disappear If you are only a number it is easier to make you disappear It was not an individual who disappeared only a number disappeared Stripping a person s identity was part of the plan of extermination For a collection of narratives by and about former prisoners of Villa Grimaldi see www lashistoriasquepodemoscontar com Return to top Case History More than 80 criminal complaints have been filed related to Villa Grimaldi Of these approximately 45 were filed for disappeared persons 6 for executed prisoners and 47 by surviving former prisoners Thirteen attorneys represent different cases related to Villa Grimaldi See Interview with Hiram Villagra Exposing the Crime of Torture The cases labeled Villa Grimaldi are joined because the detention center by that name in the Penalolen sector of Santiago was the last place the disappeared and executed prisoners were seen alive Two other common denominators link these cases 1 Nearly all the plaintiffs were members of the MIR and 2 The defendants were all DINA agents many of whom operated from Villa Grimaldi Also all the criminal complaints name Augusto Pinochet as defendant The condition of former Miristas that characterizes most of the plaintiffs is explained by the fact that the first period of Villa Grimaldi was aimed against the MIR and many prisoners survived However during the subsequent period of Villa Grimaldi directed against the leadership of the Communist Party is much more difficult to judicially verify nearly all prisoners brought there in those years were killed sparing very few witnesses and consequently presenting obstacles to persecution in court Nelson Caucoto attorney in more than 45 cases filed on behalf of the families of the disappeared explained to Memoria y Justicia Interview December 2002 Court procedure for administering cases is not very systematic Some persons who disappeared from Villa Grimaldi are included as part of the case called Condor Others are in a case under the name Operacion Colombo even though they also were at Villa Grimaldi At one point the court considered systematizing all the cases but this was never done Ideally the cases should have been systematized in four or five chapters such as Londres 38 Jose Domingo Cañas etc but under

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  • Memoria y Justicia - In Focus- The Carlos Prats Case
    and participated in activities deemed dangerous for the military government The sentence dictated by Supreme Court Judge Adolfo Bañados in the case involving the assassination in Washington D C of Chile s former Foreign Relations Minister Orlando Letelier explicitly determined the DINA s nature as terrorist organization Clause N 111 of the ruling states A profusion of facts lead us to believe that the leadership of the DINA accepted terrorist violence as a method for combating its political opposition Clause 120 of the ruling indicates This state of affairs suggests unequivocally that the DINA as institution accepted as viable as has been said the recourse of extreme violence to fight political opponents Clause 131 concludes and other direct facts also show that the DINA made use of violence as a system or philosophy This ruling upheld by the Supreme Court of Chile in 1995 sentenced former DINA Director Manuel Contreras and the Operations Chief Pedro Espinoza as authors of the assassination of Orlando Letelier one of many terrorist attacks conducted outsided of Chile by DINA The assassination of Orlando Letelier shared characteristics with the car bomb assassination of General Carlos Prats and his wife which took place two years before Hernan Quezada on the Role of Augusto Pinochet Proof of Augusto Pinochet s involvement in the case can be traced specifically to statements made by Michael Townley in the United States before Chilean detectives as well as U S prosecutor Eugene Propper in the Letelier case He also made similar statements to FBI agents who investigated the Letelier case Later the hierarchical relationship between Manuel Contreras and Pinochet lead us to presumptions concerning his role in the crime Pinochet was General Prats s subordinate a man Prats trusted That makes the charges against Pinochet in this crime all the more serious Return to top of page II The Judicial Proceedings in Argentina The judicial investigation opened in Argentina in the National Criminal and Federal Court N 1the same day the homicides took place During the first years the court was unable to identify the authors of the assassination However the characteristics of the crime pointed to the Chilean military regime as responsible for planning and carrying out the crime When the participation of U S citizen Michael V Townley in the assassination of former Foreign Relations Minister Orlando Letelier became publicly known after Townley s expulsion from Chile in 1978 due to pressure from the United States government the investigation of the murder of General Prats focused on Townley due to the evident similarity in both acts of terrorism In 1983 Argentine courts petitioned U S officials for the extradition of Michael V Townley on the basis of probable cause of his involvement in the Prats crime However a District Court of Virginia rejected the extradition as the evidence gathered in Argentina was founded entirely on Townley s testimony in the Letelier case which was inadmissible in light of the plea bargaining agreement the U S Attorney General made with

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  • Gallery of Paula Allen
    Gallery of Paula Allen Return to Start

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  • Memoria y Justicia - Rescatando Memoria - J. Cabezas
    platoon Michel was tall with a light complexion light brown hair and blue eyes characteristics that corresponded to Army class bias of a military leader The second letter Michel wrote after the so called tanquetazo the Buin Regiment tank uprising that menaced the Allende government on June 29 1973 He told us the treatment in the Army had changed They treated him roughlly Before no one thought to hide their political views People openly expressed their opinion with no fear Once Michel phoned his family He asked us to write more But the boy was fine so we were not worried After the military coup of September 11 1973 the Saez family was concerned for Michel Ana Saez sought help with the bus fare north to reassure herself that he was well a harrowing trip still vivid in her memory On the road to Iquique I fell asleep and woke up startled to find that soldiers were searching the bus In Iquique I went straight to the Regiment and asked for my son As I waited outside a lieutenant remarked So you are the mother of Michel Nash And he told me my son was in Pisagua I did not understand what he was doing there The officer explained that Michel had to be separated to prevent worse things from happening His words alarmed me so much that I began to cry Another military officer approached me and said You have to be cautious of these young men as if Michel were a dangerous person When the lieutenant saw me so anguished he tried to obtain a meeting with Army Commander Carlos Forrestier but he would not receive me Then the lieutenant suggested I speak with the Army lawyer This man assured me that my son was well where he was that he had a bed to sleep on and had good meals Much later the Nash family learned that Michel was shocked that he was forced to participate in raids on homes in Iquique on the day of the coup He and a friend decided to ask to be released of their military obligation and allow them to return to Santiago When superior officers asked why the two conscripts wanted to resign they naively responded that they did not agree with the way the army treated civilians The officers then accepted their resignation but upon leaving the Battalion premises both were promptly arrested On September 12 they were taken to the Army Telecommunications Regiment and from there to Pisagua Michel Nash was in the Pisagua Prisoner Camp a little over a week At first other prisoners thought he was an infiltrator sent to spy on them and they avoided him Undoubtedly it was very painful for him to be isolated like that Only when he returned to the prison cell in bad shape from torture inflicted during interrogation did fellow prisoners realize that they had been mistaken He cried in corner of the cell The other prisoners then consoled

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  • Memoria y Justicia - Testimony of a Prisoner of the Dictatorship
    denunciations Now in the War Councils we did invoke the Universal Declaration We invoked the Geneva War Conventions less frequently because we were defending not accusing in the War Councils We had to defend people against charges that they were traitors or that supposedly they had committed a crime such as an infraction of the arms control act In later years some judges became aware of their error but they did transfer it to rulings Do not plead the Universal Declaration they would tell us You have to understand that we have a conscience but we are under pressure They were under pressure And why did it never occur to them that we had ample reasons to be fearful During the dictatorship years approximately 10 000 habeas corpus writs were filed seeking to protect the lives of people in detention The Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission found in 1991 that the systematic rejection of habeas corpus writs was key in the disappearance of people after arrest The Ministry of the Interior would argue in each case that the person sought was not in detention The courts the report concluded could have saved lives However even though the habeas corpus writs were rejected and complaints failed to prosper during dictatorship such legal actions formed a judicial groundwork for the future when the constitutional state was restored in Chile In this regard Garreton explains All habeas corpus writs all defense motions and all complaints we filed were destined to be accepted eventually Because our reasoning was correct even under the laws of Pinochet No law has a single interpretation No law is so blatantly as to flagrantly state that police are not guilty when they murder someone Or that whoever thinks contrary to Pinochet commits a crime Other formulas are used The laws of the dictatorship would say that whoever violates national security will go to jail And when police are obligated to shoot in the exercise of their duties they are exempt of guilt which is in the Penal Code anyway If you read our motions and complaints you will find that we gave the judges many clues but they never picked up on them An example Argument N1 We would say Sir the amnesty law cannot be applied because the man is still kidnapped He has not been released And they would reply False The crime of kidnapping is consumated when the person is abducted Argument N2 We would say Sir the decreed amnesty law states that amnesty is granted to the authors accomplices and abettors So first we have to know who acted as author accomplice and abettor of this crime Persons not events are subject to amnesty And again they would reply False The amnesty law is objective not subjective Argument N3 We invoke the Geneva Conventions that prohibit amnesties for crimes committed during war You say there was a war here so you cannot apply the amnesty law And their reply was False They never

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