César Manriquez Bravo

07.06.2017
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Facts

César Manriquez Bravo was a general in the Chilean Armed Forces and chief of the Metropolitan Intelligence Brigade (BIM) of the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA), the secret police force created by Augusto Pinochet after his rise to power in the 1973 military coup. Between 5 January 1981 and 5 January 1982, Manriquez was Undersecretary of War of the military regime. While holding these positions, he was allegedly involved in the enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings of political opponents of the Pinochet regime. In particular, he is accused of being involved in the following events:

ESTADIO NACIONAL

Between 11 September and 7 November 1973, in the immediate aftermath of the coup d’état, the Chilean Army detained thousands of civilians in the Estadio Nacional stadium in Santiago de Chile, including approximately 1’000 students and staff of the State Technical University. In his capacity as commander of the detention center, Manriquez allegedly allegedly oversaw the torture and killing of many of the detainees, including prominent musician and activist Víctor Jara, who was executed in the stadium on 15 September 1973.

VILLA GRIMALDI

Villa Grimaldi, a private estate that was seized by the army following the coup, functioned as the primary detention facility of the Pinochet regime between 1974 and 1977. Nicknamed “Terranova Barracks” by government forces, the villa also served as headquarters for the BIM and its two sub-units, Caupolicán and Purén, which were tasked with the systematic repression of regime opponents in Santiago. In November 1974, Manriquez relinquished command of BIM operations and took over supervision of the detention facility, which allegedly included overseeing widespread interrogation, torture and killing of political prisoners by DINA agents.

THE “OPERACION COLOMBO”

In July 1975, the Argentinian magazine LEA and the Brazilian newspaper O Novo Dia published a list of 119 “militants” that had reportedly been killed. Most of the names belonged to members of the Revolutionary Left Movement (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR)), political opponents of Pinochet and his government. The articles falsely claimed that those named had died in Argentina, either during infighting among the Left or in clashes with security forces in the lead up to the country’s 1976 military coup. This was later revealed to be an attempt to cover up the disappearance of 119 political dissidents, who had been kidnapped, tortured and killed by DINA operatives at various secret detention camps in Chile. The story was planted in foreign publications by the Pinochet government and reproduced by government-controlled Chilean newspapers.

Operation Colombo is considered the first episode of “Operacion Condor”, which was a secret collaboration, conducted in the mid-1970s, between the military dictatorships of Chile, Argentina and Brazil to eliminate regime opponents. Operacion Condor included assassination and intelligence-gathering, dubbed counter-terrorism, and is estimated to have left 50’000 murdered, 30’000 disappeared (and presumed dead) and 400’000 incarcerated.

Legal Procedure

As a high-level DINA operative, officer in charge of the Estadio Nacional internment and supervisor of the Villa Grimaldi detention centre between 1974 and 1977, Manriquez has been found to bear superior responsibility for many of the enforced disappearances, abuses and killings committed under Pinochet. He has been convicted multiple times, receiving sentences ranging from five to fifteen years, and is serving a de-facto life sentence.

CONVICTIONS RELATED TO THE OPERATION COLOMBO

– Forced disappearance of Jacqueline Binfa Contreras and Jorge Humberto d’orival Briceño: on 9 January 2006, Judge Alejandro Solis indicted Manriquez and eight other former DINA officers for the forced disappearance of social worker Jacqueline Binfa and veterinarian Jorge D’Orival. Both victims were arrested in 1974 and moved through various secret detention facilities. D’Orival’s name later appeared on the list of 119 dissidents published under Operation Colombo. On 22 October 2007, visiting Judge Alejandro Solís Muñoz found the defendants guilty and sentenced them to prison terms between 5 and 15 years. However, on 28 November 2008, the Santiago Court of Appeals cleared Manriquez of all charges relating to the disappearance of Jorge D’Orival, while upholding the other defendants’ convictions. On 23 January 2009, the Chilean Supreme Court acquitted all nine defendants of involvement in the disappearance of Jacqueline Binfa, reversing the decision by the Santiago Court of Appeals.

– On 27 May 2008, Judge Victor Montiglio sentenced 98 former government agents, among them Manriquez, for their involvement in the disappearances of 42 MIR members in the context of Operation Colombo. On 4 September 2009, Manriquez was indicted in a new case in connection with the operations Colombo, Condor and Calle Lecture 1587, in which more than 150 former DINA agents were charged.

– Unlawful detention, torture and forced disappearance of Bernando de Castro Lopez: on 8 January 2015, Judge Hérnan Cristoso found 21 former DINA agents responsible for the unlawful detention, torture and disappearance of Bernando de Castro López. Manriquez and six other defendants were sentenced to 13 years, ten others were sentenced to terms of 10 years, and two more received four-year sentences. The victim, a member of the Socialist Party, was abducted on 14 September 1974 and imprisoned in the “Venda Sexy” and Cuatro Alamos detention facilities, where he was subjected to torture. López was last seen alive in October 1974 and his name later appeared on the list of 119 persons published under Operation Colombo.

– Unlawful detention, torture and forced disappearance of Miguel Angel Acuña Castillo: on 3 February 2015, Judge Hérnan Cristoso convicted 78 former DINA agents, among them Manriquez, for the torture and disappearance of Miguel Angel Acuña Castillo. Manriquez received a prison sentence of 13 years. The victim, a 19-year old MIR member, was arrested in 1974 and brought to the secret detention facilty Londres 38, where he was repeatedly tortured. He was among the 119 dissidents named during Operation Colombo.

CONVICTIONS RELATED TO THE GRIMALDI DETENTION CENTER

– Forced disappearance of Marcelo Salinas Eytel: on 17 April 2008, Manriquez was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for his involvement in the forced disappearance of Marcelo Salinas Eytel. The victim, a radio and tv technician and member of MIR, was arrested on 31 October 1974 outside his house in Providencia and imprisoned first at Four Alamos and later at Villa Grimaldi. Manriquez and the other defendants in the case appealed the decision, but their sentences were unanimously confirmed by the Santiago Court of Appeals on 6 January 2009.

-Unlawful detention, torture and forced disappearance of Washington Cid Urrutia: on 4 November 2015, Judge Hérnan Cristoso convicted Manriquez and 63 other former DINA agents for the torture and disappearance of Washington Cid Urrutia. Manriquez and fellow ex-officers Raúl Iturriaga Neumann, Miguel Krassnoff Martchenko and Pedro Espinoza Bravo received a 13-year prison sentence, while 35 other DINA agents were sentenced to 10 years, and a further 24 were given four-year sentences. The then 24-year old Urrutia, an MIR member, was arrested on 8 December 1974 and taken to Villa Grimaldi, together with his wife María Isabel Ortega and fellow activist Hernán Carrasco Vásquez. Urrutia was reportedly tortured before disappearing at the end of December. His name was later published on the list of 119 disappeared Chileans in July 1975.

OTHER CONVICTIONS:

– Forced disappearance of Hector Vergara Doxrud: on 13 April 2010, Judge Juan Fuentes sentenced Manriquez and two other ex-DINA agents to prison terms of 5 years and 1 day for the disappearance of Hector Vergara Doxrud. The engineer and member of the Popular Unity Action Movement (MAPU), a leftist political party, was arrested by secret police agents on 17 September 1974. The conviction was upheld on appeal on 18 June 2012.

– Unlawful detention, torture and forced disappearance of Jorge Arturo Grez Aburto: on 13 May 2014, Manriquez and 74 other DINA operatives, including former DINA chief Manuel Contreras, were found guilty of the kidnapping, torture and subsequent disappearance of Jorge Arturo Grez Aburto. Judge Hérnan Cristoso gave 13-year sentences to Manriquez, Contreras as well as Pedro Espinoza Bravo, Marcelo Moren Brito, Miguel Krassnoff Martchenko and Gerardo Urrich Gonzales, while 68 other defendants received sentences of four or ten years. The victim, who had ties to both MIR and the Socialist Party, was apprehended on 23 May 1974 and taken to the detention centres Londres 38, Estadio Chile and Cuatro Alamos, where he was tortured. Grez was last seen alive in July 1974.

– Forced disappearance of Amelia Bruhn Fernandez: on 22 May 2015, Judge Mario Carroza convicted six former DINA agents for the disappearance of activist Amelia Bruhn Fernández. Manriquez, Orlando Manzo Durán and Ciro Torré Sáez received prison terms of 5 years and 1 day; Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda, Marcelo Moren Brito and Miguel Krassnoff Martchenko were given 7-year sentences. Bruhn, a member of MIR and an active organizer of the Popular Resistance against the Pinochet regime, was taken on 4 October 1974 and brought to the Cuatro Alamos detention centre, from which she disappeared a few days later. The defendants appealed the conviction, but it was confirmed by the Supreme Court on 19 September 2016.

– Murder of miguel Enriquez Espinosa: on 27 October 2016, visiting judge Mario Carroza indicted five defendants for the murder of Miguel Enríquez: Manriquez and fellow DINA agents Miguel Krassnoff Martchenko and Rodolfo Concha, former Carabinero Ricardo Lawrence, and the civil employee Teresa Osorio. Enríquez was the one of the founders of MIR and its General Secretary from 1967 until his death in 1974. He was among the most wanted members of the resistance and thus forced to live in hiding following the 1973 coup. According to the charges, Enríquez was shot and killed during a gun fight that broke out when DINA agents attacked the house he was staying in with his partner Carmen Castillo Echeverría and other MIR members on 5 October 1974.

– Unlawful detention, torture and murder of Maria Alvarado Borgel And Martin Elgueta Pinto: on 27 February 2017, Manriquez was given a sentence of 10 years and 1 day for the 1974 torture and killing of Maria Alvarado Borgel and Martin Elgueta Pinto. Ten other DINA operatives were also found guilty by Judge Leopoldo Llanos of the Santiago Court of Appeals, and received prison terms between four and fifteen years. The victims, both 21-years old at the time, disappeared on 15 July 1974 and were brought to the secret DINA facility Londres 38, where they were tortured and ultimately killed.