News Release

Pinochet’s Release


Joyce Horman is the widow of Charles Horman. Along with another U.S. citizen, Frank Teruggi, he was detained and murdered in September 1973 in the days following Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s bloody military coup backed by the U.S. government. She has worked to uncover the facts about his murder for more than 26 years. Today she said: “With this decision to allow Pinochet to go to Chile rather than face justice in Spain, it becomes even more important to press the U.S. intelligence agencies to release the remaining documents they have on the cases of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi as well as any other documents they have on cooperation between U.S. government agencies and the Chilean dictatorship.”

Director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Birns was serving with the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America in Santiago, Chile during the period immediately leading up to the 1973 Pinochet coup. Today he said: “The case has produced winners and losers. The winners clearly include the Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzon, whose persistence in hunting down Pinochet was of heroic proportions, as was the vindication of the U.N. Torture Convention by British judges. The losers in the affair were [British] Home Secretary Jack Straw for putting his country’s strong economic ties with Chile above the memory of Pinochet’s victims, as well as Chile’s Christian-Democrat-led government which dishonored the memory of thousands of Pinochet’s victims by its pusillanimity and genuflecting before Pinochet’s shadow as it spared no effort in trying to get him back to Chile.”
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Amnesty International’s advocacy director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Salinas said: “We’re clearly disappointed that Mr. Straw decided to make a political decision rather than allow the process to continue in the legal arena. However, despite this specific setback, the precedent established by the case of universal jurisdiction for crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations — as well as the clear message to all human rights violators of the world that their time in court may still come — are invaluable outcomes.”
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National Security Archive senior analyst Kornbluh, who has led the campaign for the release of documents on the U.S. role in Chile, said today: “The British have released Pinochet citing a ‘memory deficit’ that leaves him unfit to stand trial. While he may not remember his crimes against humanity, his victims and the rest of the world will never forget. This leaves unresolved investigations into Pinochet’s crimes and the crimes of his subordinates.” Human rights advocates pointed to the importance of the U.S. Justice Department continuing its investigation of the 1976 Letelier-Moffitt car bomb assassination in Washington, D.C.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167