Chilean court convicts ex-army chief for Pinochet-era crimes
Updated 11:47, 13-Nov-2018
A Chilean judge on Friday convicted the country's former army chief for complicity in the deaths of 15 people in the early period when Augusto Pinochet ruled the country.
Juan Emilio Cheyre, 70, was sentenced to three years and a day under house arrest following an enquiry by an investigating magistrate.
Cheyre is the most senior figure so far to be held accountable for abuses committed after Pinochet overthrew former Chilean president Salvador Allende in a military coup in 1973.
Cheyre became a symbol of the national transition from dictatorship to democracy that began in 1990. As commander in chief of the armed forces between 2002 and 2006, he was the first to ask forgiveness for the military's excesses in the past years.
But his tenure was clouded by an investigation into his involvement with Chile's notorious "Caravan of Death" military committee, which traversed the country in the months following the coup, killing and ordering the murder of leftists.
Augusto Pinochet is pictured in Santiago, September 10, 1987. /VCG Photo

Augusto Pinochet is pictured in Santiago, September 10, 1987. /VCG Photo

Cheyre's conviction follows those of more than 1,000 former agents, soldiers and collaborators of the Pinochet-era crimes.
"It has been an extensive and complex investigation, above all because we did not have the cooperation of those implicated," said Mario Carroza, the investigating judge, on Friday.
The incident for which Cheyre was convicted took place in the coastal city of La Serena a month after the coup in 1973. He was a young officer with an infantry regiment at the city when the Caravan of Death arrived in the city and killed 15 people. 
Ariosto Lapostol, Cheyre's superior officer at that incident, was on Friday ordered by the same court to serve 15 years in prison for the killings. 
Pinochet died in 2006 at the age of 91, without ever standing trial.
Source(s): Reuters