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Last Updated: Friday, 18 November 2005, 18:15 GMT
Pinochet and ex-police chief meet
Augusto Pinochet (left) and Manuel Contreras
Manuel Contreras (right) was second only to Augusto Pinochet
Chile's former ruler, Augusto Pinochet, has met a jailed ex-secret police chief over the disappearance of nearly 120 dissidents 30 years ago.

Gen Pinochet met Manuel Contreras on the orders of a judge, after a request from Contreras' lawyers.

The two men have given different accounts over whether Mr Pinochet had direct control over the disbanded secret police, the Dina.

Gen Pinochet has denied having any direct influence over the force.

But Contreras' lawyers, who requested the meeting, said the judge should see who was really responsible for the disappearance of the 119 people in 1975.

Both Gen Pinochet and Contreras - who is currently serving several jail terms for other offences - face charges in connection with the disappearance of the dissidents, in what became known as Operation Colombo.

Sacked

When asked about the Dina by the judge overseeing the case, Victor Montiglio, Gen Pinochet said he did not remember anything about it.

He also accused Contreras of having been plotting to take over the country and said he sacked him because he was creating problems.

Contreras' lawyer said the claims were unfounded, blaming them on Gen Pinochet's old age or his wish to "put the blame on someone who is already down and cannot respond", according to La Tercera newspaper.

Mr Montiglio oversaw the meeting between the two men at the Lo Curro military club, near Gen Pinochet's mansion in Santiago, on Friday.

Gen Pinochet's military government ruled Chile for 17 years until 1990. During that period more than 3,000 political opponents were killed.

Contreras' position as head of the Dina made him one of the most feared men in the country.


SEE ALSO:
Chile's ex-police chief jailed
15 Nov 05 |  Americas
New disappeared charges in Chile
09 Aug 05 |  Americas
Condor legacy haunts South America
08 Jun 05 |  Americas
Chile ex-spy chief reveals abuses
13 May 05 |  Americas
Chile secret police chief jailed
28 Jan 05 |  Americas
Pinochet spy chief denied amnesty
18 Nov 04 |  Americas
Pinochet's police chief jailed
18 May 04 |  Americas
Condor legacy haunts South America
25 Nov 04 |  Americas


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