ON THE STATUS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CHILE
of “on the spot” Observations in
“El Buen Pastor” Detention Center
In the afternoon of July 26, Ambassador Woodward and Dr. Reque visited
the Buen Pastor House of Correction. This is a jail located in a suburb far from
downtown Santiago, in the neighborhood of San Bernardo. The establishment is
under the supervision of nuns. Conditions in the dormitories appear to be good;
there is a television set; the environment is tranquil. There are 38 prisoners;
they were in the open air, many of them knitting small garments with wool they
received free from the Red Cross. They said that they earned a little money from
the sale of the garments; they also made clothing for themselves. They
complained of the shortage of wool. The Tres Álamos Prison is nearby. There was
clear indication of fear regarding the possibility of being transferred to that
jail, which has a very bad reputation.
Since the Commission had received denunciations mentioning the Buen
Pastor House of Correction, Mr. Woodward and Dr. Reque began the visit by asking
that they be permitted to interview the prisoners individually.
The Mother Superior reported that there were 38 prisoners, 37 of whom
were imprisoned for political crimes. Of the 37, five had been sentenced and 32
were being prosecuted. There was no obstacle to speaking directly with the
prisoners. In a large room, Ambassador Woodward and Dr. Reque spoke to the
prisoners to explain to them the purpose of the visit. Later, using as reference
the lists the Commission had of the persons detained, they were interviewed in
Ambassador Woodward interrogated the following prisoners:
Nº 1 Arrested
early in October 1973; interrogated at the Stadium and sent to “Buen Pastor”
late in October. No specific charge brought against her, but the military
prosecutor who interviewed her two months ago informed her that air force
intelligence had a file on her anti-patriotic ideas, expressed in a book written
several years ago by her.
The prisoner stated that she had written in that book what she believed
was the truth regarding a number of aspects of Chilean history.
Nº 2 Was arrested
in mid-March 1973, when the authorities raided her apartment looking for
weapons. The prisoner stated that she had never taken part in any acts of
violence or in the preparation of acts of violence. Was tortured at the air
force headquarters, where she was kept blindfolded for two months and a half and
received concentrated electric shock on three occasions, all over her body. This
caused injuries, such as a hernia in her back.
Nº 3 Was arrested
in late September because of her political ideas. Was interrogated and tortured
up to late October, before being sent to Buen Pastor. Was beaten but did not
receive electric shocks. Was not visited by the military prosecutor until early
February 1974. States that there are no specific charges against her. Has so far
not been permitted to have a lawyer.
Nº 4 Was arrested
early October 1973. Was tortured and interrogated at the Stadium and sent to
Buen Pastor early in November 1973. Still does not know of any charge against
Nº 5 Was arrested
in September 1973 and accused of having acted as a spy or as an intelligence
agent for air force matters. Said that she had not taken part in any political
activity. Was tortured an entire night with beatings and electric shocks in the
Chilean air force headquarters and sent to Buen Pastor late in October, 1973.
Still no specific charges against her and was
not visited by the military prosecutor until July 1974.
Nº 6 Arrested in
late June 1974. Was severely beaten and subjected to electric shock during five
days of interrogation at the Investigation Department of the Civil Police and
sent to Buen Pastor, where she had been in bed until a few days previously. Mr.
Woodward asked to speak to her when he saw her walking very slowly with the help
of two young prisoners. She said that she had never had anything to do with
violence nor with preparations for violence. They raided her house looking for
weapons, but found none.
Nº 7 Arrested
September 1973. Never took part in political activities. Does not know charges
against her, although she appeared before a “War Council”, when she saw for
the first and last time the attorney appointed to defend her. Was sentenced to
20 years in prison.
Nº 8 Does not
know the charges against her. Said that she never took part in political
activities. Was sentenced to 400 days.
Nº 9 Was arrested
in San Antonio in September 1973, accused of having weapons in her apartment.
Her apartment was raided and thoroughly searched, but no weapons were found. By
beatings and electric shock, her captors made her say what they wanted. That was
how she had falsely stated that she had had a weapon. Was sentenced to three
Nº 10 Said that she was
sentenced to 15 years for having taken part with her husband in a meeting with a
group of farmers after September 11. Said that they are all uneducated, that
they cannot read the newspapers, and that they rarely listen to the radio. They
did not know that a meeting with some neighbors could result in arrest and
punishment. Her husband is in jail in Santiago. They were accused of possessing
weapons, but she says that they did not have any.
The following persons were interviewed by the Executive Secretary:
Nº 1 Was arrested
in September 1973 and taken to the National Stadium. Was transferred in November
to Buen Pastor. Said that proceedings had been initiated against her for having
lent her house during 1971 and 1972 for political education. Said that she did
not have a lawyer, and that the prosecutor did not permit her to have one. Was
subjected to torture, regarding which she did not want to give details for fear
Nº 2 Was arrested
in November for having permitted a person to take lodging in her house a few
days immediately after the events of September. Was subjected to torture in the
Buin regiment, where she was held incommunicado for 40 days. Se was deaf as a
result of the electric shock that had been applied to her ears. Said that she
had no medical attention. Requested that the Commission take steps to expedite
proceedings against her.
Nº 3 Was arrested
in September for having permitted another person to take lodging in her house.
Was transferred to the National Stadium where she was tortured. Stated that the
person lodging in her house was a young woman who was killed by police forces.
Was transferred to Buen Pastor in October, 1973. Her children have been left
abandoned. She requested that steps be taken to expedite her case.
Nº 4 Was arrested
early April 1974. Was taken to the Air Force War Academy. Was raped, tortured
with electric shock, and as a consequence, the doctor requested that she be
committed to a psychiatric clinic. She is accused of belonging to the left.
Stated that she has no right of defense until the prosecutor authorizes her to
have counsel. Stated that her parents had died and that she is responsible for
several siblings. She asks that her case be expedited.
Nº 5 Was arrested
November 1973 and taken to the National Stadium. Was accused of bearing arms.
Says that the War Council had sentenced her to 241 days in prison, and expects
that she will be released August 3.
Nº 6 Was arrested
in early October and taken to a Chilean Air Force installation where she was
tortured. Has gynecological problems, for which she requires medical attention.
She stated that she has a lawyer, but does not know what she is accused of.
Nº 7 Arrested in
October 1973 and taken to the Investigation Section and then to the National
Stadium. Stated that reprisals were taken in the Stadium against persons who
talked to the Commission's Executive Secretary during his visit in October last
year. Requests that steps be taken to expedite her case. No charge of any kind
has been brought against her. She was tortured in Investigations, where she was
disrobed, subjected to electric shock, and made to witness the torture of other
Nº 8 Was arrested
in October 1973 and tortured in the Police Investigations Room. Was transferred
to the National Stadium and later went to Buen Pastor. No charges were brought
against her. Her husband, who has also been arrested, lost an eye as a result of
Nº 9 Was arrested
in November 1973. Was transferred to Police Headquarters and later to
Investigations, where she was held incommunicado. No charges have been brought
Nº 10 Was arrested in
September in Arica. In late December, 1973, the War Council sentenced her to
eleven years in prison, but two days later, the sentence was increased to 26
years. Has no right of appeal. They transferred her to Santiago in a prison van
in January, 1974. Was in the common criminals section in Buen Pastor, but six
weeks ago was transferred to the incommunicado section. Has requested transfer
to the section where political detainees are held. This request was denied, and
they threatened to take her again to the common criminals section. Requests
review of her case.
Nº 11 Was arrested by the
police in mid-September 1973. Was held incommunicado 22 days. After a month's
detention, without knowing the charges against her, she was sentenced by the War
Council to 20 years in prison. Says she was not permitted to have counsel. Is
now serving her sentence in Buen Pastor. Does not complain of maltreatment.
Nº 12 Her house was
“taken” (they took possession of it) by a leftist party. She reported
voluntarily to the Carabineros Academy on September 19, 1973, to explain the
matter of her house. They arrested her that day and took her to the National
Stadium, where she remained until October 26. She was free until February 4,
when by order of the Prosecutor, she was arrested and taken by a lieutenant to
the Matadero Lieutenancy, from which she was transferred to the Fourth
Carabineros Station and was interrogated by the Prosecutor, Jaime Rojas. Was
finally sent to Buen Pastor. After February 4, she was interrogated two more
times, says that her case has not been tried. She alleges that she is entirely
innocent and does not know whether she will be released. Requests that her
status be clarified.
Nº 13 Was arrested in
December 1973 by elements of the SIM (Intelligence Service.) Was taken to
“Tejas Verdes” and detained there until late December 1973. Was tortured
with electric shock, beatings, and psychological torture. Was held
incommunicado, she says, “in a cage one meter wide by two meters long.” Was
brought before a War Council in Tejas Verdes in early January 1974. Accused of
assault against the carabineros and intellectual sabotage. Was sentenced to six
years in prison. Was transferred to Buen Pastor in early March. Had no defense.
Her lawyer was designated by the War Council, and was barely given time to ask
her name. Requests that her case be reviewed, since there is no proof of the
charges brought against her.
Nº 14 Was arrested in late
June 1974. Was accused of secretly making Molotov cocktails, because she was
found in another factory on September 12, 1973. They took only one statement
from her. She was transferred to Buen Pastor and was held incommunicado for the
first six days. Her case is pending and will be brought before the War Council.
Requests that her case be expedited.
Nº 15 Arrested in early May
1974 by members of the SIM. They tortured her with electric shock, beatings on
the lower part of her body, the use of the electric bed, etc. for the first two
days. The last four days she was placed with other persons in a ditch full of
excrement. In early May, she was taken to the Military Prosecutor and was made
to sign a paper but does not know what it said or what it dealt with. She was
charged with being a political activist, because pamphlets of a leftist party
were found in her possession. She was taken to Buen Pastor the same day. She
does not know what will become of her later. Requests that she be released
because her children are shifted from house to house with no one responsible for
them. She says that there is no guarantee that she will be set free, because she
may be taken from Buen Pastor to Tres Álamos.
Nº 16 Was arrested in early
January 1974 and accused of being an accessory. Was taken to Investigations and
was forced to turn over her house to her captors. She was only interrogated and
then transferred to Buen Pastor. She has been a prisoner since then, and in
almost seven months has not been informed of anything, whether proceedings have
begun in her case, or whether she will be brought before the War Council. In
March of this year the Prosecutor came to see her. She says that her only crime
was to have had in her house a former official of the previous regime, who has
now left the country, while she continues in jail.
Nº 17 Was arrested in
mid-January 1974. They did not tell her the reasons for her arrest. After three
days she was taken to Tejas Verdes where she was interrogated with torture,
beatings, etc. She was there 35 days. Then she was transferred to Buen Pastor.
Later, in early April, she was transferred to the Chile Stadium, where she
remained a month without having been interrogated. In early May, she returned to
Buen Pastor. She hopes to be released with a dismissal of her case in two weeks
to one month. She asks to have the signing of her release expedited.
Nº 18 Her house was raided in
March 1974, and she was taken prisoner to the Chilean Air Force Investigations
Section (El Bosque Air Force Base), for no reason at all. She was blindfolded.
Six other persons whose names she does not know were with her. They were
interrogated four times a day with torture: beatings, and electric shock. She
was found guilty of being an accessory, because a young socialist was living in
her house. She was then transferred to “Tejas Verdes” in mid-March 1974.
There she says that they tortured her only one day. She remained 45 days locked
up in a wooden building (a kind of cabin) together with about 20 women. Food was
very bad. They were given two plates of food a day and two cups of tea. She was
taken to Buen Pastor where she remained until late April. She does not know what
charges were brought against her.
At the express request of some of the prisoners, who stated that they had
been subjected to serious torture, all reference to their particular cases has
been omitted, because they expressed fear that their attitude would provoke
Air Force General Accountant, General Alberto Bachelet, who was
appointed to manage the State distribution agency called “National Bureau
for Distribution and Marketing”.