Chile jails Gen. Héctor Orozco, 91, for crimes against humanity

SANTIAGO – A former Chilean general has been jailed for crimes committed against humanity under Pinochet’s military rule.

Police arrested 91-year-old Héctor Orozco this week after he failed to turn up to serve his 10-year prison term. He was sentenced earlier this month for the killing of two activists under the rule of former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

Orozco’s brother says the nonagenarian has senile dementia but the judge ruled he was lucid and able to serve the sentence.

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Gen. Orozco is a former director of Chile’s infamous army intelligence service known as DINE. According to official figures, more than 3,200 people were killed or disappeared during Gen Pinochet’s rule, many of them by the intelligence services.

The retired general was found guilty of the 1973 murder of left-wing activists Rigoberto Achú and Absalón Wegner.

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The two were arrested shortly after Gen Augusto Pinochet came to power in a coup d’etat and accused of hiding weapons.

They were shot in the back while they were being transferred from the police station where they had been interrogated back to prison.

The military regiment under the command of Héctor Orozco alleged that the two men had been trying to escape.

But a report by Chile’s truth commission dismissed that allegation as implausible, pointing to the fact that Mr Achú was not able to walk after having been tortured for months.

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Apart from Orozco, two more retired officers and two civilians have been sentenced over the murder of the activists.

Gen. Orozco will serve his term at Punta Peuco prison, a special prison for human rights offenders.