2 Chilean coronels sentenced for death of Pres. Michelle Bachelet's father

Santiago, Nov 21 (EFE).- A Chilean judge sentenced two retired air force coronels to jail as responsible for the torture that caused the death of air force Gen. Alberto Bachelet, father of the nation's President Michelle Bachelet, judiciary officials said.

According to Friday's decision by Judge Mario Carroza, Col. Ramon Caceres Jorquera has been sentenced to three years and one day behind bars, while Col. Edgar Ceballos was sentenced to two years and one day.

Gen. Bachelet, who opposed the military coup led by Augusto Pinochet in September 1973, died, according to a report by the Legal Medical Service, or SML, due to "illegal oppression" (Chilean legalese for torture) suffered after being arrested and accused of treason by the dictatorship.

Bachelet and other constitutionalists among the military were jailed and, according to the report, were taken to the Air Force Academy every day to be tortured.

On March 12, 1974, the father of Chile's current president died in prison of cardiac arrest the day after returning in particularly bad condition from his daily ordeal.

In the case of Col. Caceres, the sentence includes parallel penalties such as the absolute prohibition to exercise political rights, or hold military rank or public office, until his sentence has been served, as well as the proportional payment of court costs.

Col. Ceballos, meanwhile, was given the additional penalty of suspension of his military rank and prohibition to hold public office during the time of his sentence, plus the payment of court costs.

The judge's decision also said that neither convict meets the legal requirements necessary to be granted alternative sentences, which must therefore be served strictly behind bars.

However, their jail sentences were reduced by three months for the time they spent in preventive imprisonment in 2012.

Plaintiffs in the case were represented by AFEP, a support group for the relatives of those who were executed, with the participation of Angela Jeria, wife of the general and mother of President Bachelet, both of whom were jailed and tortured by the Pinochet dictatorship.

The plaintiffs also demanded the trial of retired Gen. Fernando Matthei Aubel, former air force commander and member of Pinochet's military junta, for having been director of the Air Force Academy when the crimes were being committed, but he was not indicted.

Matthei, who claimed he never assumed that position and had no idea what went on there, is the father of rightist presidential candidate Evelyn Matthei, defeated by a wide margin in last year's election by Bachelet, who took 62.16 percent of the vote.

Gen. Bachelet and Gen. Matthei were friends until the coup on Sept. 11, 1973, after which they were on opposing sides.