Four ex-Pinochet agents jailed over disappearance of Chilean student

SANTIAGO – A Chilean court sentenced four former agents of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship (1974-1990) to five years and one day in prison for the kidnapping and disappearance of student and left-wing activist Gabriela Arredondo in 1974, earlier this week.

Arredondo was a 32-year-old student from the University of Chile, where she studied French and was part of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR). She was arrested by state security forces on Dec. 19, 1974, after being detained was taken to Villa Grimaldi, one of Chile’s infamous detention centers for torture.

According to Villa Grimaldi detainees who survived their time at the center, Arrendondo was taken there and tortured until Dec. 24, the last time she was seen alive.

Miguel Krassnoff Martchenko, Pedro Espinoza Bravo, Fernando Lauriaini Maturana, and Rolf Wenderoth Pozo, who were part of the dictatorship’s National Intelligence Agency (Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional, or DINA), a secret intelligence agency established to combat leftist parties and movements, and which was involved in the disappearance, torture, and murder of hundreds of Chileans, have been convicted for the crime.

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All four are currently in prison serving sentences for several other human rights violations or crimes against humanity. Former agents Krassnoff and Espinoza have collectively received sentences of up to 600 years in prison for the various crimes they committed.

The sentence handed down by Judge Mario Carroza was ratified unanimously on Wednesday, according to a judicial spokesperson.

During Pinochet’s, United States-backed dictatorship, over 3,200 Chileans were disappeared or murdered by the DIN and the National Information Center (Central Nacional de Informaciones, or CNI). The remains of at least 1,192 Chileans, disappeared during Pinochet’s rule, were never found.

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