Chile recognises 9,800 more victims of Pinochet's rule

File photo of Augusto Pinochet Gen Pinochet ruled Chile for 17 years from 1973 to 1990

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A Chilean commission investigating human rights abuses under the former military leader Gen Augusto Pinochet says there are many more victims than previously documented.

Commission director Maria Luisa Sepulveda said they had identified another 9,800 people who had been held as political prisoners and tortured.

The new figures bring the total of recognised victims to 40,018.

The survivors will get lifetime pensions of about $260 (£157) a month.

An earlier report by the commission recognised 27,153 people who suffered human rights violations under military rule.

The official number of those killed or forcibly disappeared now stands at 3,065.

'Peace and reconciliation'

Ms Sepulveda said the commission had examined 32,000 new claims of human rights abuses over the past 18 months.


The report from the Valech commission doesn't change the substance of what we know about human rights abuses during the Pinochet years, but it does alter the numbers - particularly as far as the victims of torture and detention are concerned.

Until now, we knew there were around 28,000 victims of torture and abuse. Now, that figure needs to be revised upwards to nearly 38,000.

This is the fourth major report into human rights abuses in Chile since 1990. The first, in 1991, looked specifically at deaths. We know that around 3,200 people were killed in political violence during General Pinochet's rule.

The second and third reports, published in 2004 and 2005, looked at torture. This latest report is an update to those two.

With it, the Valech commission has concluded its work. But that doesn't mean an end to human rights investigations in Chile. Hundreds of cases are still before the country's courts, and will be for many years to come.

She said of those, 9,800 were found to fulfil the commission's criteria.

In order to be officially recognised as victims, people had to have been:

  • Detained and/or tortured for political reasons by agents of the state or people at its service
  • Victims of forced disappearances or been executed for political reasons by agents of the state or people at its service
  • Been kidnapped or been the victims of assassination attempts for political reasons

Furthermore, all the cases had to have happened between 11 September 1973 and 10 March 1990, when Gen Pinochet was in power.

The BBC's Gideon Long in Santiago said Ms Sepulveda did not give details of the kind of abuses the victims had suffered, nor did she release the names of the victims.

The report was presented to Chilean President Sebastian Pinera at a ceremony in the presidential palace.

Justice Minister Teodoro Ribera said the document would contribute to peace and reconciliation in Chile.

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