SANTIAGO – Chilean former President Ricardo Lagos said Tuesday that he does not favor “as a general norm” the idea of humanitarian parole for elderly or terminally ill people convicted of Pinochet-era human rights violations.
“In the Chilean case, judicial authorities take those measures, so it is they who must analyze the matter case-by-case,” he said when asked about a proposal to release jailed agents of Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-1990 dictatorship who are more than 80 years old or suffering from a terminal illness.
Lagos, who governed Chile from 2000-2006 and is seeking to represent the ruling New Majority in next year’s presidential contest, said humanitarian release should be granted only in special cases and only to convicts who express remorse.
The former head of state was asked about plans by some human rights offenders at Santiago’s Punta Peuco prison for a ceremony this Friday to ask forgiveness.
“If that happens ... it would be an important step, a significant step. It would be well received by public opinion,” Lagos said. “The important thing is that the act be authentic.”
The Pinochet regime killed some 3,000 people, abducted and tortured more than 27,000 others and forced an ever larger number of Chileans into exile.