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Chile court sentences Pinochet police chief to 10-year prison term

[JURIST] A Chilean appeals court in Santiago Friday sentenced General Manuel Contreras [Trial Watch profile], the secret police chief under former dictator Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], to 10 years in prison. Contreras, the former head of Pinochet's National Intelligence Directorate [FAS backgrounder], was sentenced for the kidnapping of 7 neighborhood leaders from La Legua in December 1973. The two men who survived the kidnapping testified in the case. The court also sentenced former officers Jose Friz Esparza and Marcelo Moren Brito for their role in the kidnapping.

Pinochet died of a heart attack [JURIST report] in December 2006 without ever facing trial on multiple charges of tax evasion and human rights violations. In November 2007, Chile's Supreme Court affirmed seven convictions and overturned one [JURIST report] in cases involving murders committed by state agents during Pinochet's 1973-90 regime. The court based its decision on the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials], finding that Chile was in a state of internal armed conflict when the murders occurred. DPA has more.

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