Last December many thought that the elections that brought the formal end to the military dictatorship of General Agusto Pinochet (installed in a 1973 CIA assisted coup against the elected government of Salvador Allende) would curtail the massive human rights abuses that characterized his regime. Despite the promises of Chile's new president over 300 political prisoners remain in prison.
The military and police still effectively rule Chile and it is unlikely any of the prisoners will be released soon. Just as it is unlikely that any military or police officials will ever stand trial for the murders and tortures committed during the dictatorship.
The prisoners are united and have refused deals that would only release some and leave others from other political groups. The prisoners also demand that officials who have murdered and tortured prisoners be tried and punished. The military has responded by falsely charging many prisoners with serious non-political crimes to keep them in prison. Few of the prisoners have even had trials or any type of judicial process to begin with.
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