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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 May, 2004, 07:03 GMT 08:03 UK
Chile's Pinochet victims testify
By Clinton Porteous
BBC News, Santiago

General Pinochet in 2000
Human rights groups say Pinochet's regime killed thousands
More than 30,000 Chileans have said they were victims of torture or political detention under the 17-year Pinochet regime that ended in 1990.

The public was invited to testify to a government commission that is examining human rights abuses.

There were many reports from men and women of sexual abuse, with about 10% of the testimonies coming from women.

Most said they were victims in 1973- soon after the military coup that brought Gen Augusto Pinochet to power.

'Sexual torture'

Testimonies were collected from 30,000 or so people from all over Chile, many of them speaking for the first time about their experiences.

Commission lawyer Cristian Correa said a substantial number of victims spoke of sexual abuse.

"Men and women victims of sexual torture - we have received a lot of testaments of that kind of things.

"These kind of perversions are fairly common if you feel there is no limit on what you can do."

One torture centre in Santiago was known as "Venda Sexy" - or Sexy Blindfold - and was notorious.

'More were victims'

The commission is the first in Chile to examine torture and detention under Augusto Pinochet's military government.

Other enquiries have examined the number of dead and concluded more than 3,000 political opponents were killed.

Human rights groups have criticised the commission for only hearing testimonies for six months.

They believe more than 100,000 people were tortured or detained during the military government.

But the commission did not accept testimonies from protesters arrested by police and later released, or those who were merely detained for a short time and not tortured.

It is set to deliver its final report to President Ricardo Lagos in August.

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27 Aug 03  |  Americas
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03 Jul 03  |  Americas
Chile drops Pinochet trial
01 Jul 02  |  Americas
Country profile: Chile
26 Nov 03  |  Country profiles
Special report: The Pinochet file
09 Jul 01  |  The Pinochet file

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