Sunday, 1 November 2009

Chile: Ex-conscripts Willing to Testify

"Our mission was to stand guard outside, and listen to their screams," said former draftee Jose Paredes, who described his service at the Tejas Verdes torture center in an AP interview. "They would end up destroyed, torn apart, their teeth and faces broken."

"There are things that I've always said I will take to the grave," Paredes said, his grizzled face running with tears as he named a half-dozen officers who he said gave the orders. "I've never told this to anyone."

Some Chilean former conscripts are saying that they will testify about their actions under the Pinochet regime in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Now, in general I'm against amnesty laws and the like, but I can see that there is an argument for protecting these, the lowest ranks of the machinery of terror, in order to receive valuable information about the major perpetrators. Many of the soldiers were just teenagers and clearly under extreme pressure to carry out the orders given to them - refusing could well have been fatal.

Chile: Old soldiers ready to tell secrets of coup (AP)

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