Pinochet regime victims' families get $1.3 mn in damages

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Santiago (AFP)

Chile's Supreme Court ordered the state Tuesday to pay $1.3 million in damages to the families of four people who disappeared in the 1970s during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

The court awarded payments ranging from $16,000 to $1 million to the families of the four men, who were all detained by regime agents and never heard from again.

"We can only conclude that the moral damage caused by the illicit behavior of state officials and agents who carried out the crimes against humanity that are the basis of the present case must be indemnified by the state," the judges ruled.

The largest award, 700 million Chilean pesos, was for the family of Miguel and Gilberto Rojas, a father and son who were arrested in October 1973, the month after Pinochet seized power in a coup and began cracking down on leftist opponents and their supposed supporters.

The Rojases disappeared after being detained by the army.

The Pinochet regime killed an estimated 3,200 people and tortured 38,000 from the time the army commander seized power from Socialist president Salvador Allende in 1973 to the return to democracy in 1990.