Chilean writer, convicted assassin for Pinochet’s regime, dead at 84

LIMA, Aug. 11 (UPI) — Mariana Callejas, a Chilean writer and secret agent who was married to an American assassin, has died at the age of 84.

Callejas was married to Michael Townley, who worked for the U.S.-backed government of Augusto Pinochet. Townley was imprisoned for the murder of Gen. Carlos Prats and former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier.

Callejas was known for holding book club and literary evenings at her Santiago home while Pinochet’s intelligence officers would allegedly torture political prisoners in her basement.

Callejas, who died Tuesday in a nursing home, was later imprisoned for her role in the 1974 killing of Prats. She was accused of remotely detonating a bomb that killed Prats and his wife in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Chile’s Supreme Court reduced a 20-year sentence Callejas received in 2008 to a five-year house arrest sentence. She was also accused of conspiracy in the 1976 killing of Spanish-Chilean U.N. diplomat Carmelo Soria, who was killed in Santiago, the Chilean capital.

Soria’s daughter, Carmen, said that Callejas died with impunity.

“This has been happening with some violators of human rights; that they are dying and they have not served convictions,” she said, local broadcaster Cooperativa reports. “That is the absolutely responsibility of justice and of the Chilean state. There is no justice. The violators of human rights receive pensions that us Chileans pay. This country is rotten.”


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