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Former Chile police officers convicted for Pinochet-era rights abuses

[JURIST] A Chilean court convicted 24 former Chilean police officers of human rights violations on Wednesday for their role in the 1973 murders of 30 leftist prisoners. A woman who survived the incident, which took place during the regime of former dictator Augusto Pinochet [JURIST news archive], testified that the officers tortured and shot some 30 inmates, and then dumped their bodies into a river. The officers received sentences ranging from four to 20 years, with one receiving a sentence of life in prison. AP has more. From Santiago, La Nacion has local coverage, in Spanish.

In January, a Chilean appeals court sentenced [JURIST report] General Manuel Contreras, the secret police chief under Pinochet, to 10 years in prison for his role in the kidnapping of seven neighborhood leaders from La Legua in December 1973. 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.

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