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Ex-Chilean Agent Sentenced To Life

November 21, 2000

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ A former agent for the Chilean dictatorship under Gen. Augusto Pinochet has been sentenced to life in prison for his part in planning the assasination of Chile’s ex-army chief in a Buenos Aires suburb.

Enrique Arancibia Clavel, 56, was sentenced Monday in a Buenos Aires courtroom in front of the three daughters of Gen. Carlos Prats, who was killed by a powerful car bomb along with his wife on Sept. 30, 1974.

Arancibia Clavel, a Chilean, was a former agent of DINA, the notorious secret police established by Pinochet, but has lived in Buenos Aires in recent years.

The former agent, who pleaded innocent to homicide charges, sat silently through the verdict but yelled while leaving the courtroom that the verdict was a ``political decision.″ His attorney said he would appeal the verdict.

The sentence keeps Arancibia Clavel in prison until at least 2012, when he will be eligible to request an early release.

During the trial, Arancibia Clavel’s lawyers had argued that he was not in Buenos Aires in the days leading up to the bombing and that he had never worked for DINA.

But witnesses claimed that Arancibia Clavel was the local contact for those carrying out the attack.

Prats resigned his post in 1973 during the final months of Salvador Allende’s ill-fated presidency that ended in a coup. Allende replaced him with Pinochet, who carried out the coup. Once Pinochet assumed power, Prats fled to Argentina, saying he had received anonymous death threats.

The general’s eldest daughter, Maria Angelica Prats, said she hoped that the verdict would help to ``bring about the extradition″ of Pinochet himself.

During the two-month long trial, the judge had demanded the extradition of Pinochet in connection with the killing, adding Argentina’s name to a growing list of countries that want to question the ex-dictator.

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