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NEW INDICTMENTS LINK TWO CHILEAN HUMAN RIGHTS CASES

(May 17, 2006) Investigators have accused Gen. Ramírez Rurange with giving the order to take Col. Gerardo Huber out of the country in 1992 shortly after Huber was called to testify about an illegal arms sale to Croatia. The investigative Judge Claudio Pavez suspects that Col. Huber was shot when he refused to leave the country.

The announcement follows Gen. Rurange’s confession that he gave a similar order for the disappearance of Eugenio Berríos, a chemist working for Chile’s Directorate of National Intelligence (DINA), who was suspected of playing a role in the 1976 murder of Orlando Letelier in Washington, D.C. as well as mysterious death of former President Eduardo Frei Montalva in 1982.

Judge Pavez has long suspected that Col. Huber, former army chief of acquisitions, was assassinated to keep him from testifying against military superiors in the Croatia Arms case. Huber initially testified in Jan. 1992 that he was ordered to prepare the necessary customs papers to export the arms to Croatia, then under a United Nations arms embargo. Shortly after the testifying, Huber’s body was found floating in the Maipo River just outside of Santiago.

Testimony from former military officials claim that in April of 1991, shortly after former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet stepped down from power, a group of military swore an oath to eliminate anyone that accused Gen. Pinochet of breaking the law during his 17 years as dictator. Numerous suspects in human rights investigations were sneaked across the Argentinean border in the years immediately following Chile’s transition to democracy.

Berríos was allegedly moved to Argentina in 1991 to prevent him from implicating Gen. Pinochet in two human rights cases and was later shot after surfacing in a Uruguayan police station 1995 requesting to be returned to Chile.

Gen. Rurange, then chief of the Directorate of Army Intelligence (DINE), testified in April that Gen. Pinochet gave him the order to remove Berríos leading Pavez to suspect that he was also responsible for Col. Huber’s disappearance.

Five military officials have already been indicted for helping plan the murder of Col. Huber. Judge Pavez is now trying to locate the gunman and the person that gave the order to shoot.

SOURCE: LA NACIÓN

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