A Chilean judge is turning the historic case of a priest tortured on board a Pinochet-era 'torture ship' into a travesty of justice, Amnesty International said today, after the dropping of charges against most of those implicated in his death.
Tomorrow is the hearing of a fresh appeal launched by the family of Father Michael Woodward against the presiding judge’s recent decisions, including the absolving of 19 out of 29 former naval and police officials initially indicted.
The Catholic priest and dual British-Chilean national is believed to have died following torture aboard the naval vessel Esmeralda in 1973, which served as an interrogation centre for scores of prisoners that year.
The boat still serves as a naval training vessel and a ‘roving ambassador’ for the Chilean government.
“This judge is turning Michael Woodward’s case into a travesty of justice,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Americas.
“The throwing out and watering down of charges for crimes under international law, even after reported admissions of guilt by some of those under investigation, is an utter disgrace.”