House Democrats Urge Pinochet's Indictment
By Vernon Loeb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey (N.Y.) and 14 other House Democrats have urged
the Clinton administration to do "everything possible" to indict Gen. Augusto
for the 1976 car-bomb assassinations of former Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and his American colleague, Ronni Moffitt, on Washington's Embassy Row.
"Your administration has compiled an admirable record in the fight against
international terrorism," Hinchey and his colleagues said last week in
a letter to President
Clinton. "The Letelier-Moffitt murders, however, are the worst act of state-sponsored terrorism ever committed in our nation's capital. We are deeply concerned that
the man we believe to be ultimately responsible for the murders -- Augusto Pinochet -- has yet to be brought to justice."
The House members acted four days after a Chilean appeals court struck
down an indictment filed against the former dictator for involvement in
the murder and
kidnapping of 74 dissidents shortly after a coup, supported indirectly by the CIA, brought him to power in 1973. He ruled Chile for the next 17 years. Recently
declassified CIA documents show that Pinochet, 85, was directly involved in the plot that led to the murders of Letelier and Moffitt.
"Now is the time for the U.S. to act," the House members wrote. "Doing
so will send a clear message that no matter how long it takes, terrorists
will be held
accountable for their crimes, both in the U.S. and around the world."