In Chile, the Supreme Court has rejected a United States application for the extradition of three men wanted for the murder in Washington of former Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letelier in 1976.
In Chile, the Supreme Court has rejected a United States application for the extradition of three men wanted for the murder in Washington of former Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letelier in 1976. The decision has brought a strong reaction from Mr. Letelier's sister who's warned of international consequences.
SYNOPSIS: The Supreme Court in Santiago said the three defendants had no case to answer - either in Chile or the United States. Their lawyer agreed.
Afterwards, the Court's Justice Secretary, Mr. Rene Picalee, gave details of the verdict. He told waiting newsmen that the court had not only turned down the extradition request but had also ruled out any possibility of a trial in Chile. He also announced the release from military custody of the three accused - former Chilean intelligence chief General Manuel Contreras and two of his aides.
Mrs. Faviola Letelier, sister of the former minister criticised the Court's ruling. She said adequate proof had been supplied of the defendant's guilt. This followed allegations made by prosecution lawyers at the trial in March of two Cuban activities involved in Mr. Letelier's murder. The Cubans were sentenced to life imprisonment for the crime, but Mrs. Letelier claimed the original plot had been masterminded by the intelligence service of the Chilean military junta. Mr. Letelier had been a vocal critic of the Junta, having served as foreign minister under socialist Prime Minister Salvador Allende, who was killed in the military takeover. He fled to America but was killed in 1976 by a car bomb. Mrs. Letelier said there would be 'international repercussions' over the court's refusal to extradite.