The Miami Herald
Aug. 06, 2002

Pinochet officers sentenced for killing labor leader in '82

  SANTIAGO, Chile - (AP) -- Twelve people who served as officers under former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet, including four retired generals, were
  sentenced Monday to prison terms for the 1982 killing of a prominent labor leader.

  The sentences issued by Judge Sergio Muñoz, ranging from three years to life, can be appealed.

  Retired army Maj. Carlos Herrera, who admitted to killing union leader Tucapel Jiménez, was sentenced to life.

  The others were sentenced as accomplices or for cover up in the assassination.

  Jiménez, a key figure in the growing opposition to the Pinochet dictatorship, was shot several times in the head and had his throat slit. His body was left
  in his taxi near Santiago airport.

  Retired Gen. Ramón Alvarez, a former army intelligence chief, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly ordering the killing.

  Three other retired generals -- Hernán Ramírez Rurange, Hernán Ramírez Hald and Fernando Torres -- received prison sentences for cover up. But the
  judge suspended the sentence and instead ordered them to report each week at the corrections department.

  Muñoz said he received ''full cooperation from the army'' during his years-long investigation of the killing.

  Jiménez's son, Tucapel Jiménez Jr., and human rights activists said the sentences were too short and planned to appeal.

  Viviana Diaz, head of an organization of dissidents who disappeared at the hands of Pinochet's secret police, called the sentences ``shameful.''

  The Jiménez family lawyer, Jorge Saavedra, said he, too, planned an appeal, ``and I also hope to prove that Pinochet himself had a responsibility in the

  The judge, however, said he found no evidence of involvement of the 86-year-old former dictator.

  Pinochet seized power in a bloody 1973 coup and ruled until 1990. Last month, the Supreme Court halted his trial on human rights charges, saying he is
  not mentally and physically fit to stand trial.

  About 3,200 people were killed for political reasons during Pinochet's reign.

  In a taped testimony before the judge, Herrera said he was ordered by superiors to kill Jiménez because he was ``a traitor to the fatherland.''