Ex-Chilean general arrested in Argentina
Luis Ramirez P ineda, 77, was detained at a Buenos Aires hotel on an international
Pineda was wanted in Europe in connection with the death and possible torture
French doctor captured during the bombardment of La Moneda, Chile's
Ramirez is the first official to be arrested as part of attempts by a French
prosecute 15 former military officials suspected of being human rights offenders
during Pinochet's 1973 to 1990 dictatorship that left 3,100 dead and another 1,000
Ramirez was a lieutenant colonel at the time of the September 11, 1973,
toppled elected president Salvador Allende, an avowed Marxist who perished during
the palace assault.
But Georges Klein Pipper, a 27-year-old French psychiatrist, was among
close to Allende who were captured by troops at the palace, bound and taken away
in army trucks.
An official report issued after the restoration of democracy's in 1990
was commander of the Tacna army regiment in Santiago where the detainees were
taken for two days before their disappearance.
Ramirez's extradition will now be decided by Argentine officials who tend
extradite non-citizens for reasons of territoriality and national sovereignty.
"This will be a very interesting test for the Argentine courts," said Sebastian
Human Rights Watch America in Chile. "It's not so difficult for people to get
arrested. It's more difficult issue whether the courts will go through with the
French Judge Roger Le Loire, who issued the warrants against Ramirez and
others, is examining accusations involving the disappearances of a five French
citizens who disappeared in Chile during Pinochet's regime.
The 15 included retired Gen. Manuel Contreras, Pinochet's security chief,
Schafer Schneider, former leader of Dignity Colony, a secretive German enclave in
southern Chile that allegedly served as a detention center, a French judicial source
said on condition of anonymity.
Attention on Chile's human rights abuses had diminished after Pinochet
prosecution at home and abroad in recent years.
In 2000, Pinochet was indicted on homicide and kidnapping charges in one
most notorious cases, the so-called "Caravan of Death" in which a military squad
executed 75 political prisoners shortly after the coup.
In July 2001 the charges were dropped by Chile's Supreme Court, which ruled
Pinochet, 86, was mentally and physically unfit to stand trial. Pinochet's lawyers
say he suffers from dementia, besides other ailments.
Copyright 2002 The Associated Press.