WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE ON THE AMERICAS
ISSUE #352, OCTOBER 27, 1996
NICARAGUA SOLIDARITY NETWORK OF GREATER NEW YORK
339 LAFAYETTE ST., NEW YORK, NY 10012 (212) 674-9499
Chilean Communist Party (PC) secretary general Gladys Marin was indicted on Oct. 22 on charges of defaming former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. The army filed the lawsuit against Marin for comments she made in a speech during a protest this past Sept. 11, on the anniversary of the 1973 coup that brought Pinochet to power. In her speech Marin blamed Pinochet, who still commands the military, for the thousands of murders and other human rights violations that took place under his rule. Attorneys for Pinochet say that Marin violated a clause of the state security law which makes it a crime to defame public figures such as the president, congressional representatives, and the commanders-in-chief of the Armed Forces. Appellate Court judge Ada Gajardo confirmed that Marin's words constitute a crime. The Santiago Court of Appeals has issued a warrant for Marin's arrest, and a spokesperson said Marin would surrender on Oct. 24; if found guilty, she faces up to three years in jail.
Hugo Gutierrez, a member of the legal team at the Council for the Defense of People's Rights (CODEPU) who is serving as counsel for Marin, said the legal action infringes on the right of political leaders to make political criticism, and therefore violates freedom of expression. He said that a habeas corpus writ will be filed.
[Associated Press 10/22/96, via ANTIFA Info-Bulletin; CHIP News 10/23/96]