NID - CHIILE: STUDENT BURNING CASE

Created: 7/26/1986

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

CHILE

Burning Cae*

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Tha continuing Issue ot tha two youlhs burned asrly this month by an Army patrolltanaw anttraglme protasis and aroda tha Army's reputation.

Tne decision on Wednesday By the cMBan Judge Investigating Ihe case to detain only one Army lieutenant, releasether Army personnel, and turn the case ovor to tho j

extraordinary attention among Chileans.|

docfsion mayrecuneihliewash because the military courts may discount the testimony of numerousdid the civilianassort that an Army patrol Peat the youths, set them on fire, and dumped them In an Isolated area J

legal groups, and student and Church groups have pfOteslBd the government's handling ol Ihe case. Many government officials, relieved by the detenllon of thaen last weak, now are dismayed. The Catholic Church's human riQhts organization and the lawyer tor the families of the victims haveotai'ed statement, based on eyewllnesa accounts, which directly contradicts the ludge'a finding and Is receiving heavy media play.

Comment: Although senior military officers and some government officials may be worried ebout the mounting domestic and Internstlonal criticism. President Pinochet almost certainly wants to avoid an unprecedented military court scfon against Army personnel for abusing human rights. Never!hetess. unless the military court quickly reverses the civilian judge's findings and convicts at Mast some Army personnel, public criticism of the regime Is likely to Increase sha/piy.Bj

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