Friday, May 24, 2013

Five former DINA agents sentenced for the detention of MIR militant Alfonso Chanfreau Oyarce

Manuel Contreras Sepulveda, Miguel Krassnoff Martchenko, Marcelo Moren Brito, Ricardo Lawrence Mires were yesterday sentenced to ten years imprisonment for the detention and disappearance of MIR militant Alfonso Chanfreau Oyarce. Basclay Zapata Reyes was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for complicity in detention and torture while another indicted agent, Gerardo Urich Gonzales, was absolved.

Alfonso Chanfreau, a philosophy student and MIR militant, was detained on July 30, 1974. At approximately 11:30pm, a  number of agents surrounded Chanfreau's dwelling - orders came directly from Contreras. His wife; Erika Hennings, and their daughter were transferred to her parents' home. Chanfreau was taken to Londres 38 and tortured, in an attempt to garner information about other militants. Enraged by Chanfreau's silence, DINA agents detained Erika, taping her eyes shut as the vehicle passed the Mapocho river in order to render oblivious of her surroundings. She was transferred her to Londres 38 and tortured in the presence of her husband in order to force him to collaborate with the dictatorship.

Marcia Alejandra Merino, a former MIR militant turned collaborator, was instrumental in the detention and subsequent torture of Chanfreau. It is reported that while at Londres 38, Merino sought out Chanfreau, pleading forgiveness for his plight and stating that she had collaborated with DINA to avoid further torture. Luz Arce Sandoval, another militant turned collaborator whose testimony proved vital for the Rettig Commission, declared that she was forced to witness Chanfreau being tortured.

On December 17, 1974 ,the Interior Ministry gave orders regarding Erika Henning's exile, while denying that Chanfreau had ever been detained. Chanfreau's name later appeared on the list of the 119, also known as Operacion Colombo - one of the dictatorship's fabrication of memory in which it was claimed that certain MIR and Communist Party militants had died as a result of infighting while abroad.

Testimony from witnesses indicate that Chanfreau was intensely tortured, as DINA believed he had access to fundamental information which would aid them in the destruction of MIR.

As in other cases, justice continues to be seriously hampered owing to impunity laws. The former agents will serve their sentences in Penal Cordillera, described by many as a luxurious five start dwelling, while dictatorship survivors and relatives of the desaparecidos remain entrenched within a fragment of mangled memory which is temporarily alleviated by judicial sentences long due. Former agents still retain their oath of silence about the the systematic disappearance of detainees, which makes a further recovery of memory an improbable accomplishment.

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