9 September 1985
Original:  Spanish


Case of the campesinos of Mulchen


          48.          Another of these collective executions, concerning which the IACHR has received information subsequent to the preparation of its earlier reports, is known as the Mulchen case.  Mr. Carlos Cerda Medina, the investigating judge, charged with investigating the facts, reported the following on December 21, 1980 on case 20,525 of the Mulchen Criminal Court:


(from the information investigated), sufficient presumptions arise to assume that on October 5, 6 and 7 1973, the following persons: Juan Lara Berrios, José Yañez Duran, Celsio Vivanco Carrasco, Edmundo Vidal Aedo and Domingo Sepúlveda were first arrested in El Morro, by soldiers and Carabineros accompanied by civilians and then killed.  Their bodies were recognized when they were in the place known as “La Playita” and it was noted that their hands were tied behind their back, and their bodies showed wounds from firearms and that the waters of the Rio Renaico carried the bodies of some of them downstream and they w4re subsequently buried;  the exhumation of part of the remains in the grave of Juan Labra Berrios and in that of Domingo Sepúlveda, whose remains were identified in due course, was obtained by the Court.


That in the place known as El Carmen y Maitenes, in similar circumstances, the following persons: José Liborio Rubilar Gutiérrez, Alejandro Albornoz Gonzalez, Luis Alberto Godoy Sandoval, Miguel del Carmen Albornoz Acuña and Daniel Alfonso Albornoz Gonzalez were first taken prisoner.  Kept confined and forced to fight one another in the houses of the farm El Carmen y Maitenes; later they were killed and their bodies wee buried in a field near the houses of the farm administration.  With respect to their bodies there are well-founded presumptions that they had been shot in a field near the farmhouses…


          49.          The investigating judge stated that, as a result of his investigations, it could be stated that the perpetrators of the crimes were Carabineros, of which he completely identified there, a sergeant of the Mountain Regiment of Los Angeles, and nine civilians that accompanied them.  The Minister also stated that when carrying out the arrests these officials carried a pre-prepared list.  Since military and Carabineros personnel were involved, the investigating judge declared himself incompetent and transferred the records to the military courts, which, as stated in the chapter dealing with right to a fair trial, proceeded to apply the law of amnesty and definitively dismissed the accused.


Case of the workers found in the clandestine grave of Yumbel


          50.          A similar situation is that known as the Laja-San Rosendo or Yumbel case since it was in that locality that the bodies were found.  Also in this case the information available to the Commission came to hand subsequent to its earlier reports.  This case relates to 19 persons, most of whom were employees of the Paper and Cardboard Manufacturing Company of Laja.  They were arrested between September 11 and 17, 1973 by Carabineros of the Laja station, who used vehicles belonging to the above-mentioned company.  These persons were shot, buried first in a wood adjacent to the farms of El Dorado and San Juan, which were being operated by that company, and later transferred to the back part of the Yumbel parish cemetery.


          51.          The names of the victims are: Juan Acuña Concha, Lujis Araneda Reyes; Manuel Becerra Avello; Ruben Campos López; Dabogerto Garfias Gatica; Fernando Grandon Galvez; Jack Gutíerrez Rodríguez; Juan Jara Herrera; Mario Jara Jara; Jorge Lamana Abarzua; Alfonso Macaya Barrales;  Heraldo Muñoz Muñoz; Wilson Muñoz Rodríguez; Federico Riquelme Concha; Oscar Sanhueza Contreras; Luis Ulloa Valenzuela; Raul Urra Parada; Juan Villarroel Espinoza; and Jorge Zorrilla Rubio.


          b.          Death resulting from torture


          52.          Without prejudice to the statement made in the chapter of this report relating to the right to personal integrity, it is now in order to present some cases in which the use of torture by government officials caused the death of the victims of such treatment.


          53.          The early reports of the Commission already mentioned some cases of persons who died as a result of torture during the days following the military coup. [22]


          54.          These cases were followed by several others that occurred in 1974 and 1975, some of, which were included in the Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Chile.  [23]


          55.          In 1975 and 1976--when disappearances increased and multiplied--torture took on alarming characteristics in Chile.  In fact, as it was possible to prove, many of the disappearances were of persons who died as a result of torture.


          56.          Thus one case that came to the knowledge of the Commission is that relating to Marta Ugarte Roman,  [24] a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, who disappeared after having been arrested in the early days of August 1976 together with other militants of that party.  Her brutally mutilated body was found some weeks later.  Her arms and neck were tied with wire, one arm and all the vertebrate broken; her hands and feet wee without nails, her legs were detached at the groin;  he skin on many parts of the body shoed traces of burning and punctures; a piece of her tongue was also missing.


          57.          In 1977 there was a significant decrease both in disappearances and in reports of torture.  The Commission so reported in its 1977 and 1978 annual reports, in which it did not mention any person dying as a result of torture.  [25]


Case of Federico Renato Alvarez Santibañez



          58.          In 1979 the death of the teacher Federico Renato Alvarez Santibañez was reported as a result of the torture inflicted on him by agents of the National Intelligence Agency (CNI).  In view of the special features of the case, it is in order to refer to it in detail.  On August 1979 Federico Renato Alvarez Santibañez was arrested by Carabineros of the 9th Precinct.  On that day 15 civilians arrived in approximately 5 automobiles and forcibly entered his house.  He was initially held in custody b the Carabineros but was later transferred to the building of the National Intelligence Agency (CNI).  He was seen on Monday, August 20, at 15:30 hours, when he was being taken to the public prosecutor’s office and was in very poor shape.  He could barely stand and was tottering and almost fell down.  He seemed like a robot and his eyes were completely vacant.  He did not recognize his wife.  He was kept standing all the time and they had to help him walk since he could not do so alone.  From there he was taken incommunicado to the prison where they put him in the infirmary about 23:00 hours, he was taken to the emergency hospital (Posta Central).  Where he died at about 7:00 hours in the morning as a result of the torture to which he was subjected during his detention.


          59.          To investigate the death of Mr. Alvarez Santibañez and the circumstances in which it occurred, Mr. Alberto Chaigneau del campo, a judge of the Appeal Court of Santiago, was appointed investigating judge.  When he sent the records to the military court, Mr. Chaigneau del campo submitted the results of the investigation he had made to the Court of Appeal and stated that:


When the autopsy was made by the Medical-Legal Institute, it was found that the body of Alvarez Santibañez showed the following external wounds: a contusive wound in the left frontoparietal region, ecchynosis of both eyelids, a dried-up on the metacarpal joint (left-hand index and middle fingers).  On dissection, deep lesions were found on the back and a transversal lineal fracture was found under the second wound decried on the head, with a depression 12mm long and 1mm broad, which, in its anterior part, showed a depression of the arciform outer table, with a radius of 8mm in its middle part, and a fracture of the inner table of the parietal bone with a triangular depression, the base of which corresponded to the lineal depression of the arcus, which did not traverse the duramater, and a small posterior biparietal subarachnoid hemorrhage.  The report concludes, after mentioning other complicated fracture of the skull and that the complications had been delayed aspiration of stale blood, final incipient bilateral bronchopneumonia, and final aspiration of vomits.


a.          The fracture of the skull, although serious, was not necessarily mortal without the concurrence of the complications that set in later.  The mechanism for producing it is a direct blow and the possibility of its having been produced in a fall is very unlikely; given the nature of the fracture and lack of evidence of a self-inflicted wound, it appears rather to have been inflicted by third parties;


b.          Added to the complications described in the autopsy report was dehydration and a very high degree of uremia found at the time Alvarez entered the Emergency Hospital (examination made at 0:45 hours), which indicate that he already presented a uremic syndrome with uremic encephalopathy already at the time he was put at the disposal of the military prosecutor, which symptoms considerably reduced his vital capacity by seriously compromising his general condition and since it was not the result of renal anomaly, as was proven by the examination of the kidneys during autopsy, it was undoubtedly due to the fact that the deceased drank little or no water during the days prior to his death.


c.          All these conditions coupled with the skull fracture Alvarez Santibañez presented, led to his death.



          60.          In Connection with this case, on October 16, 1981, the Commission adopted a resolution, [26] in which, after setting forth the corresponding background, concluded:






1.      To take to be true the event denounced in the communication of September 24, 1979 concerning the arbitrary detention, torture and death of Federico Alvarez Santibañez.


2.       To declare that the action is a most serious violation of the right to life, liberty, and personal security (Article 1); and of the right of protection from arbitrary arrest (Article XXV) of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.



3.       To recommend to the Government of Chile:  (a) that it order a full and impartial investigation to determine responsibility for the events denounced;  (b) that it punish those responsible for such acts according to Chilean law;  and (c) that it inform the Commission within 60 days as to the measures taken to put these recommendations into practice.



61.          In this case, despite the undeniable evidence that the death of the victim occurred as a result of the torture to which he was subjected while he was in the hands of the national Intelligence Agency, the Military Court of Appeal charged with resolving the case reached the conclusion that it was not possible to determine the perpetrators, as will be seen in the chapter of this report on the right to a fair trial.


Case of Jose Eduardo Jara Aravena


          62.          Another case in point, of which the IACHR has knowledge, is that of Jose Eduardo Jara Aravena, a journalism student, who died on August 2, 1980 as a result of the tortures inflicted on him by the police detectives who formed part of a self-proclaimed “Avengers of the Martyrs Commando”.  After being kidnapped, Jara was dept incommunicado for 10 days until he was released but in such a condition that, because of the tortures to which he had been subjected, he was unable to survive.  [27]


          63.          The investigating judge appointed to investigate this case brought charges against 8 police officials.  However, the Santiago Appeal Court, composed of two lawyers appointed by the Government and a career magistrate, acquitted the accused with the dissenting vote of that magistrate, in a controversial judgment dated March 22, 1984.  The judgment was reversed by the Supreme Court in its decision of July 17, 1984, which reinstated the charges.  Nevertheless, those 8 officials are at present free on bail.


          64.          In 1984 Juan Antonio Aguirre Ballesteros and Mario Fernandez Lopez died of tortures inflicted on them.  The two cases –-No. 9437 and 9474, respectively--were considered by the Commission and are described below.


Case of Juan Antonio Aguirre Ballesteros


          65.          On September 4, 1984, Juan Antonio Aguirre Ballesteros, a baker’s helper, aged 23, and living in the Violeta Parra community of Pudahuel, was arrested by Carabineros, as recorded in statements by eye witnesses.


          66.          The following day his mother, Mrs. Eudostolia Ballesteros Catalan, applied for a writ of habeas corpus (amparo), from the Santiago Appeal Court because of the arrest of her son.  On September 26, the Appeal Court rejected that application despite the fact that the file contained statements by witnesses, which gave an account of his arrest by Carabineros.  One week later, the Supreme Court, when taking cognizance of the habeas corpus appeal, confirmed the decision of the Appeal Court that had declared the habeas corpus without merit.


          67.          On September 24, when the habeas corpus appeal was still pending a decision, the Father of the arrested person, Mr. Francisco Benigno Aguirre Vilches, filed with the Second Military prosecutor’s Office of Santiago a “accusation against the Carabineros responsible for the commission of the crimes of illegal arrest, kidnapping and torture of which Juan Antonio Aguirre Ballesteros has been the victim”.


          68.          the complaint states that, according to many witnesses, Juan Antonio Aguirre Ballesteros was arrested by Carabineros and taken to the 26th Precinct in Pudahuel, where he was tortured together with other prisoners.  According to the transcription made in that complaint one of the witnesses stated: “I was taken to the police bus; when I got in through the front door I saw that Juan Antonio Aguirre Ballesteros was in the aisle of the bus, was whining and was being mistreated by the Carabineros who were kicking him; they did the same thing to me”.


          69.          The complaint adds that “the prisoners were taken to the police Precinct and they immediately began torturing them, not only with blows but also by applying electric current to various parts of their bodies while they were being interrogated about their activities”.


          70.          the complainant states that some hours after the application of the torture the prisoners were taken out of the Precinct in a white Van license number FTU-550 of San Antonio, and taken to several houses, including that of Sergio Tapia Contreras, who was arrested.  This person, in a sworn statement, states:  “They put me into a vehicle which, despite nerves, I can recall as being a Van (apparently a white-colored Subaru) in the interior of which, apart from the driver of the vehicle, were two other prisoners.  One of them was Elias Huaiquimil, whom I was able to recognize since we lived in the same neighborhood, and the other one was a young person wearing a black parka, a hand-made cap, a gray jacket and blue jeans…  (from photographs shown to me by relatives, I learned that the name of this person was Juan Antonio Aguirre Ballesteros)”.


          71.          The compliant goes on to say: “Subsequently, around 12:30 hours, the arresting officials took three of the prisoners (Aguirre, Huaiquimil and Tapia) to the house of Mr. Dagoberto Ibáñez Rocha, which they forcibly entered, always illegally, since they never showed any warrants, insulted the entire family, shot a dog, and took away Dagoberto Ibáñez Rocha.”


          72.          The complaint adds that Dagoberto Ibáñez was put into the van, where there was two other prisoners’ ant that they were again taken to the 26th Precinct of the Carabineros, where they were again maltreated.


          73.          According to the statement of Mr. Sergio Tapia, which is reproduced in the complaint, “almost immediately after the beginning of my interrogation, they began to interrogate and torture the other young man whom I later found out was named Juan Aguirre Ballesteros.  I think we were in the same room since every reply the other young man gave, the tortures came to me and by means of new electric shocks attempted to have me confirm those replies or to add additional data.  These joint tortured lasted two or three hours…  A kind of very strong buzzing was heard, which came from an electricity-generating machine that was again applied to the young man and cry or scream was immediately heard from the young man and then there was silence.  I saw that the agents who were doing the torture were very agitated since they were running about and trying to take the young man out from where he was.  One of them said something like this: ‘“that b… has gone” while the other added “that b… couldn’t take it”.  Then I heard some voices saying “We have to call an ambulance”.


          74.          While the complaint was being processed, it was learned that on October 20, 1984 a mutilated body had been found on a small island in a creek in the locality of Codihua.  Subsequently, the mother and one of her brothers identified the body as that of Juan Antonio Aguirre Ballesteros, and affirmed that it was the person who was missing.  That identification was made on October 24, 1984, that id to say, 51 days after the victim was arrested by Carabineros.


          75.          So far the persons responsible have not been determined, despite the fact that it has been proven that Juan Antonio Aguirre Ballesteros was arrested by Carabineros belonging to the 26th precinct of Carabineros of Pudahuel, where he was torture, and that his mutilated body was found 51 days after his arrest.


          76.          At its 65° period of sessions, the Commission adopted a resolution on this case.


Case of Mario Fernández López


          77.          Mr. Mario Fernández López, aged 50 died on October 18, 1984 after being taken with serious internal injuries to a hospital from a CNI detention center.  The cause of his death was having been subjected to torture while he was in the custody of the CNI.  Mr. Fernández was arrested in Ovalle about 6:30 a.m. on October 17, 1984 by four armed men and taken to the CNI official detention center located at 2001 Colo Colo Street in La Serena.


          78.          Before dying he told the persons who treated him in the hospital that, when he was arrested, he was stripped, his body was wetted, and electricity was applied to it.  Then he was wrapped up in a wet blanket –in order to prevent external marks—and beaten with sticks and fists and kicked.  After that, he was hung up by his writs.  Following an emergency operation that lasted two hours, the cause of his death was medically certified to be serious abdominal injuries.  When he reached the hospital, he presented burns on the wrists and both his testicles and his stomach was swollen.


          79.          At its 65th session the Commission adopted a resolution on this case.


          c.          Murders committed outside Chile


          80.          In this context, the Commission will next deal with two events that occurred outside the territory of Chile, one in the United States of America and the other in the Argentine Republic, the victims of which were two well-known Chilean figures: the former minister of state and former ambassador Orlando Letelier del Solar and the former Commander in Chief of the Army and former Vice President of the Republic, General Carlos Prats González.  The seriousness of these events lies in the method used in the respective crimes and in the fact that they took place beyond the frontiers of Chile.


Case of Orlando Letelier del Solar


          81.          On September 21, 1976, Mr. Orlando Letelier del Solar, the former Ambassador of Chile to the United States and former Minister of external Affairs and national Defense during the government of President Salvador Allende, and Mrs. Ronnie Moffitt, his colleague at the Institute of Policy Studies, died in Washington, D.C.


          82.          The deaths occurred as a result of the injuries caused by the explosion of a bomb placed in the automobile in which they were traveling; the bomb was actuated by remote control.  Michael Moffitt, the husband of Ronnie Moffitt, was also travelling in the vehicle but managed to save himself.  [28]


          83          The meticulous and lengthy investigation carried out by the Public Prosecutor of Washington, D.C. with the cooperation of the FBI and other agencies of the Government of the United States, made it possible to try Michael Townley, a DINA official, and Guillermo Novo Sampol, Alvin Ross Díaz, Virgilio Paz, Jose Dionisio Suarez Esquivel and Ignacio Novo Sampol, Cuban of origin.


          84          During the investigations, Michael Townley, the DINA agent, admitted his direct participation in the planning of the crime and in the preparation and placing of the bomb that caused the death of the Victims. He also confessed that he had committed the crime in his capacity as a member of that Chilean agency, on the instructions of his superior officers in DINA.


          85.          Under a procedure admitted in the law in the United States--at present received by Chilean legislation in accordance with the provisions of Article 4 of Law 18.314--Townley declared himself guilty of the crime of conspiracy in the homicide--but not the material execution of the assassination, which was the responsibility of this Cuban associates--on the basis of an agreement with the competent judicial officials having bargained for a lesser penalty and personal and legal immunity form any future actions that might be taken against him in return for his confession.  This agreement was justified by the legal system of the United States, since Townley’s confession made it possible to dismantle a terrorist network that was active in that country.  [29]


          86.          On February 14, 1979, a Grand Jury of the District of Columbia Court found the accused guilty of the charges of conspiracy to assassinate a foreign official; assassination of a foreign official; first degree murder (Orlando Letelier), first degree murder (Ronnie Moffitt), and assassination by use of explosive.  [30]


          87.          In view of the evidence arising from the investigation, the judicial system of the United States declared it necessary to try General Juan Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda, the Director of DINA, and two other officials of that agency directly implicated in the crime, namely, Pedro Octavio Espinoza Bravo and Armando Fernández Larios, officers of the Chilean Army.  To that end, the Government of the United States formally requested the extradition of those accused persons.


          88.          The Supreme Court of Chile denied the extradition request, on the grounds that all the requirements required under the extradition  treaty in force between the United Stated and Chile were satisfied except one, of a markedly discretionary nature, since it was of the opinion that the “well-founded presumptions” required by that international instrument did not exist but rather “mere suspicion” that the accused had taken part in the alleged crimes.  In addition, the Supreme Court denied the validity of the statements of Townley since they had been made within the framework of the agreement mentioned above.


Case of Carlos Prats González


          89.          On September 30, 1974, about 1:00 o’clock in the morning, in Malabia Street, Buenos Aires, Re public of Argentina, a bomb exploded in the automobile of the former Commander in Chief of the Chilean Army and former Vice President, General Carlos Prats González.  It immediately killed both him and his wife, Sofia Cuthbert de Prats.


          90.          After an investigation made by the Federal Police of Buenos Aires and the investigations carried out by the Federal Judge of First Instance in Federal Criminal and Correctional Matters, of Court No. 1 of the city of Buenos Aires, Republic of Argentina, Dr. Eduardo Francisco Marquardt, that judge ordered the preventive detention of Michael Townley on April 11, 1983 “because he is in principle the perpetrator of the two murders in question,2 the penalty for which appears in Article 80, paragraph 5, of the Penal Code of Argentina.


          91.          On the basis of those investigations and background information and invoking the treaty of extradition between the United States and the Republic of Argentina, Federal Judge Marquardt requested the extradition of Michael Townley, the DINA agent, on April 15, 1983.  In view of the prior decision the United States judicial authorities had taken with respect to Townley, the extradition request was denied.


          d.          Death in alleged clashes


          92.          The Government of Chile has repeatedly stated that it is under pressure form armed subversive groups.  In addition, there is abundant evidence that groups of that kind are operating in Chile.  The Commission is aware that, as a result of those conditions, armed clashes have occurred in which both members of those groups and police or security agents have lost their lives.  [31]


          93.          However, it should be pointed out that it has been repeatedly reported that many of the deaths of opponents that the Government has reported to have occurred in armed clashes have been summary executions carried out by the security agencies. These serious allegations are not new.


          94.          Indeed, in the Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Chile, the IACHR stated that in November 1975 the Government reported that six “extremists” had been killed in a clash with the security forces in a place near Santiago.  The Commission notes that the abundant information available made it possible to draw the conclusion that those six persons--Alberto Galard, Roberto Gallardo, Catalina Gallardo, Monica Pacheco, Manuel Lautaro Reyes Garrido and Luis Andres Gangas Torres--had been previously detained.  [32]


          95.          According to the annual reports of the Chilean Human Rights Commission between 1979 and 1984 the persons killed in clashes that were not clashes numbered 83 (7 in 1979; 23 in 1981; 13 in 1982; 14 in  1983 and 22 in 1984).  A distinguishing feature of all these cases I the absence of deaths or wounded among the security services that took part in the events, the absence of wounded among the extremists since they were all killed; and the frequent existence of eye witnesses that saw the alleged extremist detained prior to the clash.


182.          The magnitude of the violations is explained by the fact that the Government of Chile has in practice used all known methods for the physical elimination of dissidents, including disappearances, summary executions of individuals and even of groups of defenseless persons, executions ordered in trials without any legal guarantees, torture and indiscriminate and excessive violence against persons in public demonstrations.


183.          None of the complaints made because of such serious violations have led to the punishment of the persons responsible who, when they have been identified by the judges involved, have been freed by military courts. The impunity of members of the security services that this undeniable reality reveals has encouraged aberrant behavior on their part and created new victims without any political cause whatsoever.


184.          The magnitude of the proven violations, the diversity of the methods used in perpetrating them, the prolonged period during which they have been carried out and the impunity of the officials that have committed them lead the Commission to conclude that they are not individual excesses explainable in the context of an armed struggle against an internal enemy but, on the contrary, are due to the deliberate intention purpose of the Government of Chile to eliminate any form of dissidence even at the cost of such serious violations of the right to life as those documented in this chapter.


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[22]        This was, inter alia, the case of Victor Jara, Alvaro Javier Acuria Torres, Miguel Herman Moreno Caviedes and Enrique Paris Roa.

[23]        They include those of Pedro Labra Saure, Juan Manuel Valdenegro Arancibia, Cedomil Lausic Glasinovic, Guillermo Herrera Manriquez, Daniel Fuentes Caceres, Fernando Diaz Muller, Fernando Gonzalez Fredes, Jaime Ossa Galdamez, Arsenio Leal Pereira and Gustavo Castro Hurtado.  See Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Chile, pp. 43-52.

[24]        Case No. 2106.  See Third Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Chile, p. 19 et seq.

[25]        See Annual Reports of the IACHR for 1977, p. 94 and for 1978, p. 133.

[26]        The case of Alvarez Santibañez was examined by the IACHR under number 4573.  The complete text of the resolution was published in the Annual Report 1981-1982, p. 52-55.

[27]        Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 1979-1980, p. 103.

[28]        For a detailed account of the preparation and execution of the assassination of Orlando Letelier, see Assassination on Embassy Row of John Dinges and Saul Landau.  Pantheon Books.  New York, 1980; and Labyrinth of Taylor Branch and Eugene M. Propper.  Penguin Books. 1983.

[29]        See United States v. Sampol, 636 F 2d 621 (D.C. Cir. 1980).

[30]        The Cubans accused were also found guilty of other crimes such as perjury to a court and concealment of a crime.

[31]           According to the report of the Vicario de la Solidaridad “Por una Cultura de Vida, Basta de Muerte” between May 11, 1983 and May 11, 1984, 10 Carabineros and 3 military personnel were killed.

[32]           Second Report of the IACHR on the Situation of Human Rights in Chile, pp. 60-61.