Pinochet torture victims angry at pension

Thousands of people tortured under Augusto Pinochet's former military regime in Chile were granted compensation yesterday. President Ricardo Lagos made the offer as an official report was published detailing abuses committed between 1973 and 1990 and announced life-long pensions and educational and health benefits for 27,000 victims.

Thousands of people tortured under Augusto Pinochet's former military regime in Chile were granted compensation yesterday. President Ricardo Lagos made the offer as an official report was published detailing abuses committed between 1973 and 1990 and announced life-long pensions and educational and health benefits for 27,000 victims.

He also recognised that torture had been a state policy, an acknowledgement expected to open the way for new legal proceedings against torturers.

"This is not only about recognising the horrors committed 31 years ago," President Lagos said. "It's also about the damage those people continue to suffer until today. It has to do with a truth we owe these families, one that is necessary to complete the justice and compensation we owe them."

The Commission on Torture and Political Prison took one year to interview nearly 35,000 alleged torture victims and compile the report. Human rights organisations estimate that more than 200,000 people tortured during Chile's 17 years of military rule.

Of those questioned, 27,260 victims meet the strict criteria for material compensation. President Lagos said the state will provide life pensions worth 112,000 pesos (£100) a month to the accredited victims.

But the victims had mixed reactions. "The pensions are an insult," said Carmen Gloria Diaz, who was detained and tortured for two years before fleeing Chile. She lived in Britain for 15 years until democracy was restored in Chile in 1990. "Not only are not enough victims covered, but the commission had recommended that compensation be equivalent to what the families of those who were killed or disappeared receive, and that's 300,000 pesos a month. So this is a joke."

President Lagos also made the first public acknowledgement that torture was a state-sanctioned policy, and Ms Diaz said that was to be applauded because it will have a major impact. "It's a recognition that cannot be erased, and it will serve as the basis for us to initiate a rash of new legal proceedings," she added.

Chile began confronting its past human rights abuses with the return to democracy in 1990, when the government of Patricio Aylwin established a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Its 1991 report detailed the 2,000 executions and 1,200 disappearances under Pinochet's rule. But the commission never addressed torture by the military.

Hugo Gutierrez, a human rights lawyer, said torture victims had largely been ignored. And no one had been convicted of torture in Chile. But Mr Gutierrez said the report should help change this, given that it will include the names of denounced torturers, and details never before disclosed about places of torture. "It's important because it will establish an official truth," Mr Gutierrez said. "What's missing is that the torture be investigated, and that the torturers be condemned."

President Lagos said the report aimed to bring reconciliation and it would mark the beginning of a healing process, which many say is long overdue. Bishop Sergio Valech, who headed the commission, said the report recounted untold truths that all Chileans need to know, because "without yesterday there is no tomorrow".

News
newsNew images splice vintage WWII photos with modern-day setting
Arts and Entertainment
The star dances on a balcony in the video
music
News
Official estimates of the level of sham marriages range between 4,000 and 10,000 every year
science
News
Damon Gameua took on a low-fat, high-sugar health food diet for 60 days
peopleAustralian director Damon Gameua was given warning by his GP
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Sport
sportComment: Win or lose Hamilton represents the best of Britain
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsene Wenger reacts during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Swansea
footballMan United and Arsenal meet on Saturday with both clubs this time languishing outside the top four
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines