CHILE: STILL TRYING

Created: 2/7/1975

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STILL TRYING

The military government'* continuing effort to improve its international image has picked up some momentum as Santiago mounts strenuous diplomatic efforts to blunt attacks at the Geneva meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission.

Twenty-six detainees, including several leaders of the Radical Party whose freedom had been actively sough! by Venezuela, woro tabbed for release and deportation to Caracas this week. Another list ofho have been processed for exile was disclosed, and the governmentthatfersonsrevious list already have left the country.

Tho prisoner release program thus far has almost exclusively benefitedhose arrested understate of siege but not charged with specific offenses or brought to trial. The government apparently plans to broaden theto include atersons already convicted and sentenced. Arrangements for tho commutation of jail sentences to expulsion may already be in the works and recipient countries aro being sought. The government also is trying to speed judicial processes-mainly In military courts-against persons charged and awaiting trial.

Thero are indications that pressure iswithin the government to rein in the freo-wheeling Directorate of Nationalecurity arm subordinate only to the presidency. Some army generals are convinced that thepenchant for mistreating prisoners is impeding the overall effort to improve therecord on human rights.

Progress on prisoners and efforts to curb abusive practices notwithstanding, however, the government is far from complacent where internal security is concerned. Dragnet sweeps for common criminals and leftist fugitives wero undertaken in Santiago late last monthalf-year hiatus. President Pinochet has promised new interim security legislation this month. It will probably be designod to fill gaps in existing laws until tho eventual promulgation of an omnibus legal code.

The Human Rights Commission meeting may helpodification in the state of siegeestoration of procedural safeguardssince the military take-overearalf ago. The success of Chilean efforts toondemnatory resolution at the meeting probably will hinge, however, on Santiago'sto accept yet another internationalmission. Previous government policy was one of almost automatic acceptance of such groups, but there have boon recent intimations that future fact-finders must also demonstrate access to the Soviet Union and Cuba. The final decision on this sensitive point undoubtedly will beer sonally by President Pinochet.

Page 71 WEEKLY REVIEW

Feb5

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