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Chile requests extradition of former US Navy captain for Pinochet-era crimes

A Chilean judge on Tuesday issued an indictment against former US Navy Captain Ray Davis, which included a request that he be extradited to Chile. The indictment charges [CNN report] Davis with the homicides of journalist Charles Horman and US university student Frank Teruggi. Both crimes were alleged to have been committed during the 1973-1990 regime of General Augusto Pinochet [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. Davis served as a commander of a US military mission in Chile in 1973 when a coup [BBC backgrounder] ensued that resulted in the ousting of former socialist president Salvador Allende [BBC profile] and the seizure of power by Pinochet. It is alleged that Horman and Teruggi, who were being monitored by US agents as part of a secret investigation into the actions of Americans in Chile, were executed after being arrested during the coup. Davis is accused of having had the power to stop the executions, but failing to do so. His whereabouts are currently unknown, and he has previously denied any involvement in the killings. Retired Chilean army Brigadier Pedro Espinoza Bravo has also been charged in the murders.

Last January, a Chilean Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] judge ordered an investigation [JURIST report] into the death of Allende during the 1973 coup. Since the coup, Allende's death has been ruled a suicide. Allende, a Marxist, was met with opposition after winning the 1970 elections in Chile from those fearing his presidency would support a pro-Soviet communist government. The 1973 coup, backed by the US [JURIST report], was followed by a 17-year military regime led by Pinochet. The investigation into Allende's death is part of a larger probe into the military dictatorship of Pinochet. Prosecutor Beatriz Padrals will investigate 726 cases of alleged human rights abuses allegedly committed during the Pinochet regime. Hundreds of Chilean officials are also under investigation for human rights abuses committed under Pinochet, including the so-called "Caravan of Death" [BBC backgrounder, JURIST news archive] following the coup, the death or disappearance of more than 3,000 people and 28,000 cases of alleged torture. Pinochet died [JURIST report] before ever facing trial for any of the crimes that were committed during his dictatorship.

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