Chile Rejects Murder Charge Against Candidate's Father

Wednesday, 07 Aug 2013 07:45 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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A Chilean judge has rejected a lawyer’s request to prosecute former Gen. Fernando Matthei for murder in connection with Chile’s 1973 military coup, the BBC reported Tuesday.
 
Matthei is accused of heading a military facility where Gen. Alberto Bachelet was tortured to death months after a September 1973 military coup.
 
Their daughters — Evelyn Matthei and Michelle Bachelet — are running against each other in Chile’s November presidential election.
 
"There are no grounds for the requested prosecution," Judge Mario Carroza said in ruling against the request by attorney Eduardo Contreras.
 
Contreras argued that there was new evidence showing that Matthei knew about the death of Bachelet, who refused to back the military coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet and was accused of treason. Bachelet was reported to have been tortured to death in prison.
 
The latest case is the second attempt by Contreras, who represents the families of victims of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s military regime, to open a case against Gen. Matthei.
 
Gen. Matthei's lawyers argue that he took over the military facility after the death of Gen. Bachelet.
 
Gen. Matthei, 88, has not spoken publicly about the case.
 
Evelyn Matthei was chosen last month to run against former center-left President Michelle Bachelet in the Nov. 17 election.
 
Bachelet is leading in opinion polls in her bid to succeed center-right President Sebastian Pinera.
 
If no candidate wins over 50 percent of the vote in November, a runoff will be held Dec. 15.

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