BBC, 22 August 2012
A judge in Chile has ordered the arrest of eight former police and army officials over the kidnapping of a US hiker during the Pinochet years.
Boris Weisfeiler, a Princeton University mathematics professor, disappeared in 1985 while hiking on his own near Chile’s border with Argentina.
Judge Jorge Zepeda cited evidence from declassified US files.
This includes witness accounts of how Mr Weisfeiler was abducted and brought to a secret police torture centre.
The centre was located in Colonia Dignidad, a former German enclave founded in the 1960s by a former Nazi nurse, near the city of Parral, some 350km (220 miles) south of the capital, Santiago.
The suspects will be tried for “aggravated kidnapping” and “complicity” over the American’s disappearance, judicial authorities said in a statement.
‘Tortured and executed’
Mr Weisfeiler, who was born in Moscow in 1941 and naturalised as a US citizen in 1981, had been visiting Chile alone during his winter holiday when he vanished.
It is believed he was walking near the border with Argentina when the suspects allegedly seized him because he was wearing military garb, leading them believe he was a militant.
The suspects have until today “persistently tried to conceal information about the circumstances of the arrest and whereabouts of the American citizen”, the judicial authorities’ statement said.
Initial Chilean police reports said Mr Weisfeiler, an experienced hiker, had drowned while trying to cross a river and his body had not been recovered.
However, declassified US embassy cables on the case suggested he had been arrested by either the police or an army patrol and taken to Colonia Dignidad.
An informant claiming to have been a member of the military patrol that arrested him said he had been interrogated, tortured and finally executed at the colony, journalist Mary Helen Spooner wrote in a blog post for University of California Press last year.
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