Ex-Military Officers in Chile Convicted for Burning Alive a Photographer in 1986

SANTIAGO, Chile — A decide in Chile on Thursday convicted 11 former members of the nation’s military for the 1986 homicide of Rodrigo Rojas, a United States-based Chilean photographer who was burned alive throughout protests towards Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the dictator who dominated Chile from 1973 to 1990.

In a 546-page ruling, Decide Mario Carroza sentenced three ex-officers, Julio Castañer, Iván Figueroa and Nelson Medina, to 10 years in jail. Eight different troopers got suspended sentences and two had been acquitted.

Mr. Rojas’s mom, Verónica De Negri, a authorities critic, went into exile in the USA in 1977. Her son joined her and attended Woodrow Wilson Excessive College in Washington, the place he practiced his ardour for images.

On July 2, 1986, a number of months after Mr. Rojas returned to Chile at age 19, he and a college scholar, Carmen Gloria Quintana, 18, had been detained by a navy unit commanded by Lt. Pedro Fernández in a working-class neighborhood of Santiago, the capital, throughout a tense day of road protests. Mr. Rojas had deliberate to photograph the day’s occasions.

The 2 had been overwhelmed by troopers and Mr. Rojas was pressured to put face down on the bottom whereas Ms. Quintana was held towards a wall, based on the decide’s ruling.

Army personnel beneath the command of Lieutenants Figueroa and Castañer had been summoned. Fernando Guzmán, a conscript among the many personnel, testified earlier than a decide in 2014 that Lt. Castañer ordered troopers to douse the pair with gasoline and “taunted them with a lighter.”

“It was Lieutenant Castañer who set them on hearth with a lighter,” Mr. Guzmán testified. “Each burst into flames instantly.”

Lt. Fernández’s patrol took the 2 victims, who suffered burns over 60 % of their our bodies, to the outskirts of the capital and threw them in a ditch. Mr. Rojas died 4 days later. Ms. Quintana survived, however spent years present process remedy in Canada.

“I’m completely happy that these criminals can’t preserve mendacity,” Ms. De Negri, the mom of Mr. Rojas, stated in an interview on Thursday.

She expressed remorse that the opposite defendants had not been punished extra severely.

The convictions are a part of a broader push by rights activists to convey to justice the perpetrators of crimes dedicated beneath Chilly Conflict-era authoritarian navy governments in South America.

Basic Pinochet claimed after the assault that the 2 victims had by chance set themselves on hearth with a do-it-yourself bomb they had been carrying.

Later that 12 months, a civilian decide recognized military personnel as accountable and turned the case over to a navy court docket. In 1991, the navy tribunal sentenced Lt. Fernández to a 600-day jail time period, of which he served one 12 months in 1996.

The case was reopened in 2013 after a human rights group filed a prison criticism on behalf of Mr. Rojas’s household.

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