Chile: Pinochet and Human Rights

John Heelan says: A human rights body, chaired by a Catholic archbishop, reports evidence taken from 35,000 victims alleges torture, execution and "disappearances" being practised  on a massive scale by armed forces, security services and police forces of a specific country with the aim of causing terror in the population.   The report identifies more than 1000 locations all over the country where torture was practised, including stadiums, administration buildings, police stations, ships, schools and barracks; some of them were secret.  Whipping detainees was widespread.  The victims were blindfolded in most cases during their torment.  The torture methods varied with the torturers and comprised an encyclopaedia of terror.  The detainees were subjected to  electrocution, suffered sexual abuses, rape by animals, sodomy, beatings, sham executions, burning with cigarettes and immersion in water or excrement.  Frequently relatives were tortured to force confessions.

In this case, it was the Pinochet government that is being accused of using these techniques during its 17 years of dictatorship (1973-1990). The report does not name the torturers but estimates that some 3600 people were involved. The Commander-in- Chief of the Army, General Juan Emilio Cheyre, has admitted the Army's responsibility in the violation of human rights. Source: edited from El País (11/11/04).

The torture techniques of beatings , sexual abuse, terrifying by animals, sham executions, and use of water and excrement have recent unnerving echoes in the Abu Ghraib prison, and others, consecutively by Saddam Hussein's people and US troops and security service people.  It seems that even "democratic" countries are not above hypocritically using such terror techniques when it is deemed necessary by those preaching democratic values.

RH: There is a big quantitative difference. In Chile there were 35,000 alleged victims.  How many were there in Abu Graib prison?

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Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: December 5, 2004