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Crowds celebrate death of former Chilean spy chief

Former Chilean spy chief General Manuel Contreras passed away at a military hospital this weekend, whilst serving a sentence of 500 years for crimes against humanity.

The 86 year old, who headed the Chilean intelligence agency under military dictator Augusto Pinochet, had been in hospital since September 2014 due to his ailing health. Soon after his death was announced dozens of people gathered at the military hospital in Santiago to celebrate. The broke out into chants of “Murderer!” and were opening bottles of champagne.

General Contreras led the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) which is accused of torturing and killing supporters of overthrown socialist President Salvador Allende.

Some 400 cases of human rights abuses have been attributed to DINA, with dozens of cases still being processed. Francisco Ugas, the executive secretary of the Interior Ministry’s Human Rights Program who has served as a plaintiff in many of the cases said “in the approximately 25 human rights cases related to the DINA in which I have taken part, Contreras never cooperated or provided any truthful information”.

The Chilean government, headed by President Michelle Bachelet, herself a torture survivor, released a statement saying, “Last night, one of the darkest persons of our history died, responsible for crimes and serious violations in our nation”.

He will not be receiving a military funeral.

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