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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 November 2005, 16:10 GMT
Chile's ex-police chief jailed
Manuel Contreras
Mr Contreras became the one of the most feared men in Chile
A court in Chile has sentenced former secret police chief Manuel Contreras to three years in prison.

He was convicted in connection with the disappearance of a teacher, Julia del Rosario Retamal Sepulveda, in 1976.

During the military rule, Contreras became the one of the most feared men in the country, second only to General Augusto Pinochet.

He has already served a jail term for his role in the murder of the former Foreign Minister, Orlando Letelier.

Contreras faces several more human rights cases in Chile - related to his time as head of the secret police known as Dina.


The Chilean court also gave the former head of the Villa Grimaldi detention centre where the teacher was held a suspended sentence.

It said the ruling was justified by Carlos Lopez Tapia's previous good conduct.

Located in suburban Santiago, Villa Grimaldi was probably Chile's most notorious detention and torture centre.

Court documents have described barbaric facilities where some prisoners were held in small wooden boxes.

A group representing relatives of victims has said that some 300 people had disappeared there.

The centre has been demolished and is now the site of a memorial park.

In a separate development, General Pinochet, who has also been accused of human rights abuses, was questioned by a judge for the third time in a week.

He also faces an inquiry into his financial affairs.

General Pinochet's military government ruled Chile for 17 years until 1990 and during that period more than 3,000 political opponents were killed, according to a later inquiry.

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