A judge in Chile ordered the arrest of four Pinochet-era military officials Thursday, including a retired general.
The retired general and former junta member Santiago Sinclair is among those arrested for alleged involvement in 12 killings related to the so-called “Caravan of Death” – a military death squad that scoured Chile from south to north for political dissidents in 1973. The death squad executed dozens of Chileans suspected of being disloyal to Augusto Pinochet – who seized power in a military coup earlier that year. The heavily armed death squad moved from town to town by helicopter at the order of Pinochet. Many of the victims were shot by firing squad. The “Caravan” has become known in Chilean culture as one of the first major acts of repression carried out under Pinochet. The regime would go on to execute over 2000 Chileans and torture more than 30,000. Among the victims were leftists, human rights campaigners and cultural icons like musicians that were perceived by the regime as critical.
The four officials are the latest in a series of arrests in relation to the “Caravan.” Arrest warrants for five other former military personnel were issued in 1999, and 13 more in 2006. In December 2013, eight former personnel were found guilty of participating in the death squad, and were sentenced to between three and 15 years imprisonment.
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