Chilean navy officers found guilty of journalist's murder


Chile’s Supreme Court found six ex-navy officers guilty on Thursday of the abduction and murder of a Chilean journalist one day after the country’s military coup of 1973.


Jaime Aldoney Vargas, a journalist who was also a Socialist town council member, was kidnapped on 12 September 1973 and was tortured and killed at El Belloto naval air base.

The court sentenced retired navy captains Patricio Villalobos, Pedro Arancibia, Jaime Urdangarin and German Valdivia to five years in prison each with probation for their roles in the reporter’s abduction and killing.

Guillermo Vidal, another retired captain, was sentenced to five years in prison for trying to shield his colleagues from the law. A fifth captain, Sergio Mendoza, was sentenced to four years in prison without probation.

Retired Rear Admiral Ernesto Huber Von Appen and retired officer Manuel Buch Lopez were cleared of involvement in the case.

More than 3,000 people were killed or disappeared during the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, rights groups say. Pinochet came to power in a coup against President Salvador Allende.

There are around 350 legal cases brought against some 700 soldiers, police and government officials for alleged human rights violations during the Pinochet era.

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