Categorized | USA

Chile Court Orders Extradition of Pinochet Official in Miami

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An ex-Pinochet official currently residing in Miami, where he owns property and businesses, could face extradition by order of the Chilean Supreme Court.

Retired Pinochet era army officer Armando Fernandez Larios was indicted on charges of kidnapping and manslaughter, participating in the execution of a young communist activist named Manuel Sanhueza Mellado in July 1974.

Larios is also accused of having a role in the 1976 car bombing in Washington D.C. that killed Chile’s former ambassador to the United States Orlando Letelier, a U.S. citizen who served under the leftist government of former President Salvador Allende.

The Supreme Court decision, which was unanimous, decided that requirements for extradition were met, and linked his actions to the context of “serious violations of human rights, massive and systematic, verified by State actors” during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990. Pinochet’s brutal rule was imposed following a U.S.-backed and orchestrated coup against President Allende.

“It is declared appropriate to require the government of the United States to extradite the Chilean citizen Armando Fernandez Larios for responsibility attributed to him as the perpetrator of crimes of abduction and manslaughter,” the court said in a statement.

In spite of his crimes, he was able to negotiate a deal with the United States in 1987, only serving five months in prison before being released. He currently lives in Miami, where he is a businessman and entrepreneur with property and business holdings.

During the right-wing Pinochet regime, it is estimated that at least 3,200 Chileans were killed by state actors. In addition, at least 33,000 are estimated to have been tortured, disappeared, and imprisoned for political reasons.

Last year, U.S. intelligence documents were declassified which revealed that the assassination of Letelier was on the direct order of Pinochet.

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