Chile jails Pinochet-era agents for Gallardo Agüero’s forced disappearance

SANTIAGO – A special magistrate in Chile’s capital yesterday handed a five-year term to four former agents of the 1973-1990 military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet for the qualified kidnapping (disappearance) of a member of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) in 1974.

Judge Mario Carroza, of Santiago Court of Appeals, sentenced Gen (r) Cesar Manriquez Bravo, Brig (r) Miguel Krassnoff, Col (r) Orlando Manzo and retired Carabinero officer Ciro Torre to five years and one day in prison.

Nestor Gallardo Agüero, an accountant of the MIR, was arrested in Santiago de Chile on September 28, 1974. He is one of the 119 victims of so-called Operation Colombo, an idea of DINA (Pinochet’s secret police) to camouflage the disappearance of 119 political prisoners with the help of the dictatorships of Argentina and Brazil.

In those countries, unique editions of fictitious newspapers were published claiming that the 119 had died in internal purges of the MIR or in clashes with regular forces of other countries in the South American region.

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During his kidnapping, he was shot in the arm, despite which he was taken to the torture center of José Domingo Cañas and then to Cuatro Álamos, where his trail was lost.

In the civil part, Judge Carroza also ordered the Treasury to pay compensation of 40 million pesos nearly (US$61,000) to a sister of the victim.

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