Chile arrests former Pinochet aide in killings

AP News
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Posted: Oct 20, 2014 1:26 PM

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A retired colonel who served as a cabinet minister under Gen. Augusto Pinochet was arrested on Monday in connection with the forced disappearance and killing of 13 people during Chile's 1973-1990 military dictatorship.

Col. Cristian Labbe was questioned by a judge and arrested in Santiago on charges of criminal association in relation to the crimes. The judge said there's evidence that Labbe was part of a "hierarchical organization" that later turned into Chile's feared secret police and that operated at the Tejas Verdes torture center. He denies any wrongdoing.

Labbe at one point served as a spokesman in Pinochet's cabinet. After the return of democracy, he was mayor of a district of Chile's capital, Santiago.

During his tenure, Labbe helped organize an event in 2011 honoring a former military officer imprisoned for killings and other abuses committed during the dictatorship.

Chile's government estimates 3,095 people were killed during Pinochet's dictatorship, including about 1,200 who were forcibly disappeared.