Ex-Chilean dictator's agents jailed over priest's disappearance

Ex-Chilean dictator's agents jailed over priest's disappearance

By staff writers
25 Sep 2008

A former secret police commander and three agents who served in former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet's regime have been sentenced to seven years in prison for the 1974 disappearance of a Spanish priest.

The former dictatorship is believed to have been responsible for the deaths of over 3,000 people and the imprisonment and torture of many more in the 1970s and 80s.

The dictator worked hard to avoid court justice before he died, receiving backing from UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher, US president Ronald Reagan, and free market ideologue Milton Freidman and his "Chicago Boys".

The International Herald Tribune newspaper has reported that the Santiago Court of Appeals announced the sentences on 22 September 2008.

They were for former General Manuel Conteras, retired Colonel Marcelo Moren and Colonel Miguel Krasnoff, and civilian agent Basclay Zapata.

Fr Antonio Llido, a Roman Catholic priest, was arrested in 1974 and never seen again, along with many critics of the regime - including church and human rights activists.

Judge Jorge Zepeda also ordered the state to pay around US$190,000 to the priest's sister, says Independent Catholic News in the UK.

The commander and former agents are already serving prison terms for other rights abuses during General Pinochet's 1973-90 regime.

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