Around a hundred former soldiers and secret police of the Pinochet regime have been arrested in Chile’s biggest ever swoop in connection with alleged rights abuses during the dictatorship. An investigating judge has ordered the detentions in a probe into kidnappings and killings during a crackdown on Pinochet opponents in the 1970s.
An interior ministry lawyer said: “The entire state conspired in these horrendous crimes. We’re going to pursue criminal responsibilities to the end.”
Some of those held worked for General Pinochet’s infamous DINA intelligence service, which ran torture centres. Hundreds of people died in the prisons or disappeared without a trace after their arrests. It has been described as one of the darkest periods of contemporary Latin American history.
Defence lawyers say prosecutors have gone too far and question the legality of the detentions: “It seems too much, it seems again they’re going beyond fundamental institutions such as amnesty and prescriptions. They’re applying international treaties that are not valid in this country,” he said.