November 24, 2004

Pinochet: new charges follow abuse report

A report issued earlier this month in Chile found that 35,000 people were abused by the Pinochet regime. The document also says the junta operated “dozens” of secret facilities, engaged in extreme and varied torture, and systematically targeted civilians.

Although the report, which has not yet been made public, was intended as a “historical” document rather than a tool for prosecution, recent developments indicate new action against members of the former junta:

–Pinochet himself was brought up on new charges after losing a battle over amnesty. His former spy chief also faces new prosecution.

–Chile has also announced plans to build a new prison that will be almost exclusively dedicated to holding Pinochet-era human-rights abusers.

In a related story, a Riggs Bank internal investigation revealed “deep ties” to Pinochet, with money-laundering schemes between the bank, Pinochet, his family and colleagues dating back to 1985.

Several Riggs employees have been fired, and some company employees have alleged that former Riggs CEO Joel L. Allbritton was a close friend of the ex-dictator. Anonymous sources close to Allbritton’s family denied the relationship.

“Chile creates prison for military rights convicts”
Reuters, November 23, 2004

“Riggs uncovers deep ties to Pinochet / Internal inquiry finds indications of money laundering”
Washington Post, November 20, 2004 (registration may be required)

“Pinochet spy chief denied amnesty”
BBC, November 18, 2004

“Pinochet facing more charges after ruling”
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, November 17, 2004

“Chile identifies 35,000 victims of Pinochet”
The Guardian (U.K.), November 15, 2004

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