Former Pinochet bodyguard arrested for regime era murders in Chile
A former bodyguard of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested Monday along with nine other former officials for the kidnapping and murder of 13 people during the military regime.
Santiago: A former bodyguard of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested Monday along with nine other former officials for the kidnapping and murder of 13 people during the military regime.
Christian Labbe, who belongs to the ultra-conservative Independent Democratic Union, was accused of illicit association with police, military personnel and civilians alleged to have tortured and killed the regime opponents.
The crimes were allegedly committed in the Tejas Verdes military base 120 kilometers (60 miles) west of Santiago, after the September 1973 military coup that brought Pinochet to power.
The investigation into the deaths, including those of three victims whose bodies were never recovered, concluded that all 13 were tortured and executed, some shot to death and others drowned in the Rapel river.
Labbe`s lawyer, Cristian Espejo, expressed surprise over the charges.
"We are very taken aback, because after a long and extensive investigation it was shown that he never tortured anyone, and has not committed homicide," Espejo told CNN Chile.
Labbe`s defense will seek his release.
Labbe, who is being held at an army barracks in Santiago, is a former government minister and mayor as well as a former Pinochet bodyguard.
Six of the other former regime officials arrested are charged with torture and homicide, another with homicide, and eighth with kidnapping and torture.
Tejas Verdes was a feared torture and detention center run by the National Intelligence Directorate, or DINA by its Spanish initials.
Inmates were alleged to have been subjected to electric shocks, beatings, burns, having their fingernails extracted, simulated firing squads and other forms of torture.
Labbe, who retired from the military as a colonel, was mayor of Providencia, a municipality within Santiago, for 16 years until 2012.
He has been a fervent defender of Pinochet, who ruled from 1973 to 1990.
The Pinochet regime was responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 people and the torture of another 36,000, according to official figures.