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Court Rules US Military Ordered Murder of Two Americans in Chile


February 8, 2015
Pascale Bonnefoy / The New York Times

In November 2011, a Chilean judge indicted Ray E. Davis, a former US Navy officer, in the killings of two United States citizens shortly after a 1973 CIA-backed military coup. In January 2015, two former Chilean intelligence officials were sentenced in the murders of the two American citizens shortly after the 1973 coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet. The murders of Frank Teruggi and Charles Horman inspired the award-winning 1982 Costa-Gavras film "Missing." The US refused to extradite Davis.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/29/world/americas/2-sentenced-in-murders-in-chile-coup.html

Two Sentenced in Murders in Chile Coup
Pascale Bonnefoy / The New York Times

SANTIAGO, Chile (January 28, 2015) -- Two former Chilean intelligence officials have been sentenced in the murders of two American citizens shortly after the 1973 coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

Pedro Espinoza, a retired army intelligence officer, was sentenced to seven years in the killings of the Americans, Frank Teruggi and Charles Horman, while Rafael Gonzalez, who worked for Chilean Air Force intelligence, was sentenced to two years of police supervision as an accomplice in the Horman murder. The 276-page ruling was issued on Jan. 9 but was not made public until Wednesday, after all parties had been notified.

When he was killed, Mr. Horman, 31, a filmmaker and journalist, had been living in Chile with his wife, Joyce, researching a political murder and writing scripts for the state-run Chile Films. Mr. Teruggi, 24, a graduate of the California Institute of Technology, was studying economics and collaborated in a weekly news digest. The Horman case inspired the award-winning 1982 Costa-Gavras film "Missing."

Chilean intelligence officials considered the men's activities subversive and ordered their detention, the sentence says. The decision to kill Mr. Horman, it concludes, was made by the Intelligence Department of Chile's Joint Chiefs of Staff and "carried out by the Military Intelligence Batallion or the Army Intelligence Headquarters." Mr. Teruggi was taken to the National Stadium in Santiago and was tortured and apparently killed there.

The ruling said both crimes were the result of a "secret investigation" of Americans' political activities in Chile by the United States Military Group in Santiago, commanded by a Navy captain, Ray E. Davis. The information was passed on to Chilean officials.

In 2011, Mr. Davis was indicted, and Chile requested his extradition from the United States, where he was thought to be living. But Mr. Davis had been admitted to a nursing home in Chile, and he died there in 2013.

Mr. Teruggi's sister, Janis Teruggi Page, said, "Frank, a charitable and peace-loving young man, was the victim of a calculated crime by the Chilean military, but the question of US complicity remains yet to be answered." Each victim's family was awarded $325,000 in damages.



Chilean Court Rules US Had Role in Murders
Pascale Bonnefoy / The New York Times

SANTIAGO, Chile (June 30, 2014) -- The United States military intelligence services played a pivotal role in setting up the murders of two American citizens in 1973, providing the Chilean military with the information that led to their deaths, a court here has ruled.

The recent court decision found that an American naval officer, Ray E. Davis, alerted Chilean officials to the activities of two Americans, Charles Horman, 31, a filmmaker, and Frank Teruggi, 24, a student and an antiwar activist, which led to their arrests and executions.

The murders were part of an American-supported coup that ousted the leftist government of President Salvador Allende. The killing of the two men was portrayed in the 1982 film "Missing."

The ruling by the judge, Jorge Zepeda, now establishes the involvement of American intelligence officials in providing information to their Chilean counterparts. He also charged a retired Chilean colonel, Pedro Espinoza, with the murders, and a civilian counterintelligence agent, Rafael González, as an accomplice in Mr. Horman's murder. The two men, along with Mr. Davis, were indicted in 2011. Mr. Davis, who died in 2013, was commander of the United States Military Group in Chile.

"The judge's decision makes clear," said Janis Teruggi Page, Mr. Teruggi's sister, "that US intelligence personnel who aided and abetted the Chilean military after the coup remain a co-conspirator in this horrible crime."

The latest ruling concludes that Mr. Davis provided his Chilean liaison, Raúl Monsalve, a naval intelligence officer, with information on both Mr. Horman and Mr. Teruggi based on F.B.I. and other United States intelligence, compiled for an investigation into suspicions that the men were engaged in subversive activities. Mr. Monsalve, now dead, passed on this information to the Intelligence Department of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which ordered the men's arrests.

The decision said the murders were part of "a secret United States information-gathering operation carried out by the US Milgroup in Chile on the political activities of American citizens in the United States and in Chile."

Sergio Corvalan, a lawyer for the families of the two slain men, said the ruling confirmed what the families had long believed. "The Chilean military would not have acted against them on their own," Mr. Corvalan said. "They didn't have any particular interest in Horman or Teruggi, or evidence of any compromising political activity that would make them targets of Chilean intelligence agencies."


Chile Indicts Ex-US Officer in 1973 Killings
Pascale Bonnefoy / The New York Times

SANTIAGO, Chile (November 29, 2011) -- A Chilean judge indicted a former United States Navy officer on Tuesday in the killings of two United States citizens shortly after a 1973 military coup here.

The former naval officer, Capt. Ray E. Davis, was commander of the United States Military Group at the embassy here and is accused of providing Chilean military intelligence agents with information on the United States citizens Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi, who were detained in the aftermath of the coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet and were killed while in custody.

The ruling by the judge, Jorge Zepeda, draws heavily upon scores of United States government documents that were declassified in 1999. It says Captain Davis did not prevent the murders of the two men, "although he was in a position to do so, given his coordination with Chilean agents." Judge Zepeda asked the Supreme Court to authorize a request for his extradition.

Pedro Espinoza, a former Chilean army colonel who is serving multiple sentences for other human rights crimes, was also indicted in the homicides. In 2003, Judge Zepeda indicted a civilian counterintelligence agent, Rafael González, in the death of Mr. Horman.

A statement issued Tuesday by an embassy spokesman said the United States government "continues to support a thorough investigation into the Horman and Teruggi deaths in order to bring those responsible to justice." It added that State Department policy precludes comment on "specific extradition matters."

Mr. Horman, 31, a filmmaker and journalist, had settled in Chile in 1972 with his wife after traveling around Latin America. At the time of his arrest, he was researching a political murder and writing scripts for documentaries. Mr. Teruggi, 24, a graduate of the California Institute of Technology, was an economics student at the University of Chile. They were collaborating in a weekly news digest.

The Horman case inspired the award-winning 1982 film "Missing" by the director Costa-Gavras.

Information about Captain Davis's current whereabouts was not immediately available. In February 2000, The New York Times reported, "Captain Davis, now 74 and retired, said in a recent interview that he had nothing to do with the deaths and he appeared offended by the resurgence of questions about the killings."

Late Tuesday, Mr. Teruggi's sister, Janis Teruggi Page, issued a statement on behalf of herself and Mr. Horman's wife that said: "I, along with Joyce Horman, am looking forward to understanding the evidence behind these indictments. The fact that Judge Zepeda has spent considerable time investigating and evaluating these cases gives me hope that finally the truth will be revealed about their murders, and justice will be achieved."

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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