53 former dictatorship agents convicted in Chile killings

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A Chilean judge has convicted 53 former secret police agents from the country’s dictatorship for participating in the kidnapping and disappearance of seven communist leaders and the murder of the former Communist Party chief Victor Diaz.

The judicial system said Monday that Judge Miguel Velazquez imposed sentences of up to 20 years on the former agents.

Authorities say agents of the National Intelligence Directorate lured the communists to a residence in 1976 and then took them to a notorious prison where they were tortured.

Diaz is said to have been held for eight months until officials determined he had no information to give, and was then asphyxiated and his body thrown into the ocean.

Gen. Augusto Pinochet ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990. Thousands died or vanished during his rule.

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