Political News

Main jailed in torture of Chile president's father is freed

Posted April 18

— A judge has ordered the release of one of two military officers serving sentences for torturing President Michele Bachelet's father who died in their custody, Chile's judiciary said on Tuesday.

Gen. Alberto Bachelet died in prison in 1974 after Gen. Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship convicted him of being a traitor. A forensic study found that the elder Bachelet probably died of heart problems caused by torture after he was arrested for opposing the 1973 military coup that overthrew socialist President Salvador Allende.

Retired colonels Edgar Cevallos Jones and Ramon Caceres were sentenced in 2016 to four years in prison for torture that led to Gen. Bachelet's death.

Cevallos Jones' release was ordered by a local judge after psychiatric tests showed he was mentally ill, the judiciary, which oversees Chile's courts, said in a statement. His family must carry out his medical treatments, the court ruled.

Bachelet herself was arrested along with her mother in 1975 and went into exile to Australia and the former East Germany.

When she returned to Chile in 1979, she studied medicine and rose through the ranks of the Socialist party turning into a key player in the center-left coalition that dominated Chile's government for almost 20 years after Pinochet lost power. She became Chile's first female president in 2006, ran the U.N. women's agency since 2010, and took office as Chile's president for a second time in 2014.

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