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Chilean police arrest former Pinochet officials over killings

RIA Novosti

17:39 03/09/2009 MOSCOW, September 3 (RIA Novosti) - Chilean police have arrested some two dozen former officials accused of purging critics of former dictator General Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s, Latin American media reported on Thursday.

The arrests followed an order issued on Tuesday by Chilean judges to detain more than 100 former military and Dina secret police officials suspected in the political murders and kidnappings of hundreds of leftists and opposition activists during the Condor, Colombo and Street Conference military operations in 1974-1977.

"We are investigating all who have participated ... in the deprivation of liberties of the victims," Judge Victor Montiglio was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying. The identities of those named in the warrants were not released.

Pinochet came into power on September 11, 1973, in a military coup d'etat. According to official data, more than 3,000 people were killed on political grounds in 1973-1990, with some 28.000 people tortured.

According to media reports, 25 suspects were arrested on Wednesday, and another 90 are expected to be detained on Thursday and Friday. All the arrested are to be questioned by judges soon, local papers said, adding the total number of warrants expected to be issued by Chilean authorities could reach 200.

Pinochet himself died in December 2006, having evaded several attempts in Chile and abroad to prosecute him for human rights abuses.

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