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Chile convicts 106 former intelligence agents

Convictions related to Pinochet disappearances

(CNN) - A Chilean judge sentenced 106 former intelligence agents for their role in the kidnappings and disappearances of 16 leftist militants during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

According to the 714-page ruling Friday night, the sentences range from 541 days to 20 years. The convictions are the result of one of the largest mass prosecutions in Chile related to human rights abuses during Pinochet's rule from 1973-1990.

The convictions centered on 16 leftist militants who were abducted by agents of the National Intelligence Directorate between June 1974 and January 1975, transported to various detention centers and never seen again.

The secret police then tried to cover up the deaths of the 16 militants -- and more than 100 others -- by planting stories in foreign newspapers to imply that they were killed while fighting abroad, and not at the hands of the government.

Several of the intelligence agents sentenced are already serving sentences for other human rights violation convictions. An additional 13 agents who were charged were absolved, according to the Chilean judiciary.

In addition, the judge ordered the state to pay more than 5 billion Chilean pesos (about US$7.5 million) to the victims' families.

Government investigations since the end of Pinochet's rule have found that nearly 2,300 people disappeared during the dictatorship and 30,000 more were tortured.

 


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