CHILE: ANOTHER STEP TOWAR MODERATION

Created: 11/24/1976

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Chllci Another Step Toward Moderation

Following upecision to release nearly iOO political prisoners from detention last week, the Chilean government announced yot another decree to relax political restrictions. Chileans relegated to internal exile under tho military's tough etato-of-sloge provisions are to be allowed freedom to move about tho country again on condition that they not engage in antigovernmcnt activity or violate the political "recess." Many citizens charged unocr this law have been relocated to sites where living conditions are harsh and inhospitable.

.or ^HHHB willenote areas of the country after the Military deposed the Allende regime in Estimates of the persons confinedTunder this longstanding Chilean practice range as high as one thousand. An accurate count is impossible, however, because localacting within state-of-siege jurisdictionhave employed this form of punishmentkeeping meticulous records.

In another move intended toew image* che government publicized plans toajor detention camp near Valparaisoummer resort for students. The camp was emptied recently when the governmentetainees last week*

Initial reaction to the release of prisoners suggests that the Pinochet government is scoring some success in moderating criticism of its poor human rights record, particularly withinorganizations. If the momentum isChile probably willess controversial issue on the agenda ofnternational meetings.

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tha freeing of prisoners has beenby world public opinionositive step, internal security procedures ore likely to remain stringent and some arrests will probably continue. Critics will continue to play up charges of human rights abuses if illegal detentions andcontinue. anking Chilean cabinet minister haa suggested that recent government action is partprocess of normalization.1 If so, the chances have Improved for other liberalizing measures as the junta gradually recognizes that it has an important stake in convincing the world that progress is being made in re*torins human rights.

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