SANTIAGO – Families of prisoners disappeared or executed during the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet marched Friday around Chile’s presidential palace in rejection of the possibility that his henchmen who committed crimes against humanity might be paroled.
The march will be repeated every Friday, the organizers told reporters.
The organizations had previously delivered a “letter against impunity” to President Michelle Bachelet, in which they demanded that she take a stand on what they consider a campaign that seeks to free those who committed crimes against humanity.
For several weeks, lawmakers from different sectors, including some from the governing coalition, have suggested that jailed members of the military and former agents be included in a bill favoring elderly inmates, the terminally ill or those with incurable medical conditions like Alzheimer’s.
The organizations reacted against the idea on grounds that those convicted of crimes against humanity have never collaborated with the law nor have they shown any regrets for their crimes, which explains, for example, that a list still exists of 1,192 disappeared prisoners.
“We feel the government’s silence about this campaign worked up by the right, elements of the New Majority (government coalition) and some authorities of the Catholic Church is disgraceful,” said Alicia Lira, president of the Families of Executed Political Prisoners, or AFEP.
“There must be no benefits for murderers who now try to be seen as the victims, despite showing no remorse and having always refused to collaborate in the respective court cases,” she said.
“There has been an unacceptable silence and indifference in the executive power with regard to the fight against impunity,” added Lorena Pizarro, president of the Group of Families of Disappeared Prisoners.