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Chilean bishops urge clemency for prisoners, including Pinochet-era criminals

Catholic World News - July 22, 2010

As Chile prepares to celebrate its bicentennial, the nation’s bishops are urging President Sebastian Pinera to foster human rights by reforming the nation’s prisons. The bishops also requested that the president consider showing clemency to women prisoners with children, to elderly prisoners, and to terminally ill prisoners -- in some cases reducing their sentences, in others setting them free -- if they no longer constitute a danger to society and have shown good behavior in prison.

In their request, the bishops also referred to those convicted of human rights violations during the military regime of Augusto Pinochet (1973-90). Arguing against a blanket pardon or a blanket refusal to pardon, the bishops stated that those imprisoned have differing degrees of responsibility for their crimes and that some have repented.

The bishops’ proposal was denounced by victims of human rights abuses and their families.

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