A French court put 14 former Chilean officials on trial in absentia on Wednesday over the disappearance of French citizens under the regime of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
The 14, mostly former high-ranking military officials, face charges including kidnapping and torture and are the subject of international arrest warrants. They face up to life in prison, if convicted.
While the defendants did not appear in court on Wednesday, families of the victims hope the trial offers some justice more than 30 years after the four Frenchmen disappeared — and four years after Pinochet himself died.
The 14 are being tried in connection with the disappearances of the four men between 1973 and 1975. Among the disappeared was Georges Klein, the doctor of Marxist Chilean president Salvador Allende, whom Pinochet toppled on Sept. 11, 1973, in a bloody coup.
The defendants, aged between 59 and 89, include former Chilean defense minister Herman Brady-Roche and Juan Manuel Contreras Sepulveda, Pinochet’s chief of secret police. Contreras is serving time in Chile for several rights violations cases.
All 14 defendants have refused to send lawyers to the trial.
Pinochet and four other former senior officials were also initially named as suspects in the case, but all five have died since the investigation began more than a decade ago.
The other Frenchmen who disappeared were Etienne Pesle, a former priest working on a land redistribution project, and Alphonse Chanfreau and Claudet, both members of the leftist MIR party, who were arrested in 1974 and 1975.
POINT-BLANK RANGE: Reporters and camera people from several outlets say police officers in Minneapolis had fired tear gas and rubber bullets directly at them Multiple journalists on the ground in Minnesota said they were teargassed and subject to other attacks by police on Saturday evening, a day after the widely condemned arrest of a CNN reporter live on air. Los Angeles Times journalist Molly Hennessy-Fiske, who was reporting outside the Fifth Precinct in Minneapolis, said she was with a group of about a dozen journalists when the Minnesota State Patrol “fired tear gas canisters on us at point blank range.” “I was saying: ‘Where do we go?’ They did not tell us where to go. They didn’t direct us. They just fired on us,” she said
For nearly a decade, the UN Security Council has been frequently paralyzed by Russia’s obstinacy over the Syrian crisis. Today, however, it is the US-China rivalry that has infected a growing array of issues, according to officials and diplomats. As recently as 2017, an understanding between Washington and Beijing allowed the UN on three occasions — involving separate sets of economic sanctions — to project international unity in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat. Three years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a ferocious competition erupt between the UN’s two main contributors, prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May
INDIA Pride to be preserved The nation would not let its “pride be hurt” in its latest border flare-ups with China, but is determined to settle the dispute through talks, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh said in a television interview late on Saturday. “Situations arise with China. It has happened before,” Singh said, adding that the government was striving to make sure “tension does not escalate.” The government has turned down US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate, he said. IRAN Speaker says talks futile Newly elected Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf yesterday said that any negotiations with the US would be “futile.” The nation’s
HISTORIC FLIGHT: The astronauts named their capsule ‘Endeavour,’ after the space shuttle on which they both flew, while Elon Musk said he was overcome with emotion Two veteran NASA astronauts headed for the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday after Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Saturday became the first commercial company to launch a rocket carrying humans into orbit, ushering in a new era in space travel. SpaceX’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off flawlessly in a cloud of bright orange flames and smoke from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a 19-hour voyage to the space station. “Let’s light this candle,” Hurley, the mission commander, told SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California, before liftoff at 3:22pm from NASA’s