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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 August 2007, 00:15 GMT 01:15 UK
Chile ex-general jailed for life
By Daniel Schweimler
BBC South America correspondent

President Bachelet (right) looks at a memorial at Villa Grimaldi to the victims of military rule
Thousands of political opponents were killed under Pinochet's rule
Chile's Supreme Court has upheld the life sentence handed down to a former general for his part in the murder of 12 opponents of Augusto Pinochet.

Hugo Salas Wenzel is the first such senior military officer to receive a life term for human rights violations.

Salas was the head of the intelligence service, the National Information Centre, which carried out the killings.

The young rebels had taken part in the failed attempt to assassinate the ex-military leader in September 1986.

Compensation payout

The military said at the time that the members of the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front had died in gun battles with the security forces.

A later investigation found they had been detained and shot in cold blood.

Salas, who was released during the appeal process, is the first senior member of Augusto Pinochet's military government to be given a life sentence for human rights abuses committed between 1973 and 1990.

The court also increased the sentences of several other agents involved in the killings, known as Operation Albania.

The Chilean authorities last year awarded $570,000 (285,000) in compensation to each of the victims' families.

Thousands of supporters of the previous government were killed, tortured or forced into exile during Gen Pinochet's 1973-1990 military rule.

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