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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 05:19 GMT
Torture victims slam Chile payout
Demonstrators in front of the presidential palace in Santiago
Reaction to the pension plans has been mixed
Four groups representing torture victims of General Augusto Pinochet's military government in Chile have rejected a proposed compensation deal.

They staged a protest in central Santiago and said a government pension of $190 a month was insufficient.

They also said that a new official report on torture should have identified those guilty of crime.

Many other groups supported the report and the government proposal, which looks set to be approved by Congress.

Gen Pinochet ruled Chile for 17 years and the new study found there are at least 28,000 torture victims.

Human rights activist and torture victim Mireya Garcia said the $70m deal was not enough.

It's a first act of reparation. little by little it begins to be a healing process
Mireya Garcia
Torture victim

"We also want a memorial to the victims and a monument with the motto 'never again torture in Chile'," she told the Associated Press news agency.

However, the publication of the new report on the internet detailing abuses committed between 1973 and 1990 was a positive step, she said.

"It's very special for us, who were kept anonymous for almost 31 years, that the state admits that we were tortured. It's a first act of reparation, little by little it begins to be a healing process," she added.

'No justice'

Jorge Saez, 51, was a communist activist and university student in northern Chile when he was arrested in 1974.

"I feel a tremendous frustration," he told AP.

"Not because of the money, but because we heard nothing about justice, about punishing the torturers, about making sure this will never happen in Chile again," he said.

The Chilean president, Ricardo Lagos, rejected criticism that the report failed to identify those responsible.

He said this was not the role of the government-appointed commission, and that it was a matter for the Chilean courts.

1973: Leads coup against President Salvador Allende
1988: Loses plebiscite on rule
1990: Steps down as president
1998: Retires as army commander-in-chief. Arrested in UK at Spain's request
2000: Allowed to return to Chile
2004: Supreme Court strips his legal immunity

Mr Lagos said the report, based on survivors' testimonies, proved that torture had been state policy.

Gen Pinochet has never faced trial. But a Chilean judge is due to decide in the next two weeks if he is mentally fit to defend himself against allegations of human rights abuses.

His former spokesman, Gen Guillermo Garin, told the BBC World Service's World Today programme: "The investigation has failed to prove people were really tortured.

"This issue is now being exploited for political purposes, and will simply reopen old wounds that have already healed."

The document says many victims were arrested from their homes in the middle of the night and taken to one of 800 detention centres.

Earlier this month, the head of the Chilean army, Gen Juan Emilio Cheyre, accepted institutional responsibility for past abuses.

See President Lagos address the Chilean people

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Chile strips Pinochet of immunity
26 Aug 04 |  Americas
Analysis: Shock at Pinochet ruling
28 May 04 |  Americas
Pinochet's police chief jailed
18 May 04 |  Americas

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