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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05SANTIAGO2409
2005-11-28 10:58:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Santiago
Cable title:  

PINOCHET UNDER HOUSE ARREST IN OPERATION COLOMBO

Tags:   PHUM  PREL  KCRM  CI 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0005
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #2409/01 3321058
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281058Z NOV 05
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7939
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 1408
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 2973
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0818
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV 4370
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 4349
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 3112
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 2421
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 1501
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNFB/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
						UNCLAS SANTIAGO 002409 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL KCRM CI
SUBJECT: PINOCHET UNDER HOUSE ARREST IN OPERATION COLOMBO

REF: A. SANTIAGO 02398


B. SANTIAGO 02306

C. SANTIAGO 01466 AND PREVIOUS

UNCLAS SANTIAGO 002409

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL KCRM CI
SUBJECT: PINOCHET UNDER HOUSE ARREST IN OPERATION COLOMBO

REF: A. SANTIAGO 02398


B. SANTIAGO 02306

C. SANTIAGO 01466 AND PREVIOUS


1. (U) Summary: Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet
marked his 90th birthday November 25 under house arrest for
aggravated kidnapping charges after presiding judge Victor
Montiglio filed four charges against Pinochet in the 1975
disappearance of six regime opponents, and ordered his house
arrest in the Operation Colombo case. The charges came just
hours after an appeals court granted Pinochet bail in the
Riggs Bank case (ref A), presided over separately by Judge
Carlos Cerda. Unlike the judge in the Riggs Bank case,
Montiglio did not recommend bail. End Summary.

--------------
OPERATION COLOMBO
--------------


2. (U) Appeals Court Justice and presiding judge in the
so-called Operation Colombo case, Montiglio filed charges
related to six of the fifteen victims for whom Pinochet's
immunity has been lifted (ref C). Press reports indicate
that he is considering filing further charges in the next few
days. Montiglio has also requested that other victims of
Operation Colombo be included in the proceedings. (Note:
Operation Colombo was a 1975 disinformation campaign to plant
evidence and press stories indicating that 119 regime
opponents killed or "disappeared" by security forces in
Chile, Brazil and Argentina were actually living underground
or had been killed in internecine struggles. End Note.)


3. (U) Montiglio has aggressively pursued the case since he
inherited it in May. On the basis of court-ordered physical
and psychological exams (ref B) Montiglio determined Pinochet
fit to stand trial. He has interrogated Pinochet on several
occasions, including a November 18 "face to face" between
Pinochet and Manuel Contreras, the ex-head of DINA currently
serving a twelve-year prison term on other human rights
charges. Montiglio has also taken testimony from others
implicated in Operation Colombo and from witnesses to the
victims' detentions. Montiglio's filing states "there are
indications to show his (Pinochet's) responsibility and
participation in the crime of aggravated kidnapping," in the
case of at least six victims.

--------------
RIGGS BANK
--------------


4. (U) The Fifth Santiago Court of Appeals granted Pinochet
bail in the Riggs Bank case on November 24, lowering bail
from the requested 12 million pesos to six million, about USD
11,500 (ref A).

--------------
BIRTHDAY PARTY SCRATCHED
--------------


5. (U) After the arrest order for Operation Colombo was
issued, Pinochet's family reportedly cancelled plans for a
birthday lunch for around 60 people, mainly family. Outgoing
Chief of the Army General Emilio Cheyre and some Pinochet
family members visited him at his suburbaan Santiago home.
Cheyre told the press his visit was his duty as Commander of
the Army and an act of compassion. He added that any charges
against Pinochet should be resolved in the courts through due
process. (Post note: Cheyre has called on Pinochet every
birthday during Cheyre's tenure as Army Chief, and has rushed
to be present during Pinochet's major hospitalizations as
well. End Note.)


6. Comment: (SBU) Pinochet's legal team is expected to file
a bail request soon for the Operation Colombo case. However,
with the possiblity of further charges in Operation Colombo
and court schedules, it could be weeks before bail is
granted. The ultimate outcome in the Operation Colombo case
remains uncertain. Once he has tried the case, Judge
Montiglio could still apply the 1979 Amnesty Law and suspend
proceedings, as he has in past human rights cases. Moreover,
Pinochet can avail himself of a number of appeals steps if
convicted.
KELLY