ALBANO AGUSTIN FIORASO CHAU
Albano Fioraso Chau, a young teacher connected to the MIR (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionario/ Left revolutionary movement), was arrested at 10.30 pm on June 17th 1974 along with his friend Francisco Javier Urbina Soto just a few meters away from his house. They were taken into custody by two policemen and one civilian, a neighbour by the name of Luis Eduardo Ortiz Farias. The three of them were mobilizing in the car of Ortiz Farias. The two young people came out of Urbina’s house and were heading to Fioraso’s house, located in the same street, to watch a game of World Cup football that was going to be shown that night on television. A few meters away from the house they were intercepted by the policemen and Ortiz, who got them into the car and took them to a restaurant, where they transferred them into a van that took them to the 9th Police Station. At the station they were detained for several hours at the waiting room, where they were questioned about their identification. At daybreak they were put in a small cell full of people detained due to drunkenness and other offences. There they remained until 11 am on June 18th, when they were then separately taken to the hospital for medical examinations; later they were taken back to the police station. Around 12.30 pm, when all other inmates had left the station, some civilians arrived, took Albano Fioraso out to the backyard and, while telling him that they had been searching him for a long time, started to beat him. They accused him of having assaulted the powder magazine in the city of Rancagua and of handing out pamphlets. After a while they took him back to the cell, where his witnessed his bad physical state. Then they took them both outside, beating Fioraso again, and interrogating Urbina about Fioraso. Around 2 pm, the victim was taken out for a third time, to an unknown location. Francisco Urbina was set free at around 6 pm. The mother of the remaining victim, Maria Ines Chau, had gone to the 9th Police Station around noon the day after the detention and saw the two young people coming back from the medical check. She was then told to come back later. When she returned at 4 pm and spoke with the official Zuniga, she was told that her son had been handed over to the Military Intelligence Service (SIM) at 2 pm.
The cause of the arrest originated from a complaint made by a neighbour, Norma Pajkuric, who’d had disputes with Fioraso’s mother and had made threats regarding her son. At the same time, she had warned other neighbours not to make contact with the young Fioraso because otherwise something bad could happen to them. Pajkuric’s was a friend of Eduardo Ortiz, the civilian who participated in the arrest.
In July 1975, the name of Albano Fioraso Chau appeared in a list of 119 Chileans murdered in Argentina, according to new publications by the Brazilean newspaper O’DIA and the Argentinian magazine LEA, which were widely covered by the Chilean press. Some deaths had occurred in confrontations with Argentinian security agents while others were due to internal struggles of the MIR. Both the Argentinian and the Brazilean authorities informed the Chilean courts that they had neither been informed about these supposed confrontations nor about the existence of the publications, that were edited in that unique opportunity and with the only goal to publish those false events. The authorities of the Chilean military regime later had to concede that there was no evidence of those deaths and that there was no record of the mentioned victims leaving the country. All the people registered in these lists had been arrested by Chilean security staff and are disappeared persons, just like Albano Fioraso Chau.
JUDICIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS
On June 24th 1974 an appeal for legal protection was presented to the Court in Santiago, followed by another one presented a few days later, on June 28th. The Ministry for Internal Affairs informed the Court that the person in question had not been arrested by the order of any administrative authority and that they had no information as to his whereabouts. The Police Headquarters informed the Court by telephone that this individual had been arrested on June 17th 1979 at the 9th Police Station, but that he had been set free the next day at 3.15 pm. The Court then decided to ask the Police Station for its report. Before that, the Court had ordered that the Defense Ministry be informed: both petitions were submitted several times, and nearly 5 months later, on November 26th of that year, the Defense Ministry finally answered stating that SENDET had informed them that the person in question had not been presented before a Military Tribunal and that there was no information available on this person. On November 29th the Ministry for Internal Affairs answered an inquiry that had been sent to the Police Headquarters, stating that this person was not arrested by an order of its Ministry. Nevertheless, 2 months later, on January 24th 1975, the same authority sent a new letter to the Court, reporting that the person in question had indeed been arrested on June 17th 1974, but was also set free the next day. On February 4th 1975 the DINA (secret service), which had been questioned the month before but refused to answer, replied that the information requested from them should be asked of the Ministry for Internal Affairs. The Court decided to inform the military authorities, in order to find out whether there had been any such order from the military tribunals. Both the Army and the Air Force Combat Commando answered denying the allegations. In March of 1975, the DINA was asked for information once again. The director answered in the as before with a printed form letter.
On March 26th 1975, nine months after having been presented, the appeal for legal protection was rejected and the Court ordered the records be sent to the corresponding Criminal Court for investigation of the reported facts. Thus, on April 1st 1975, at the 3rd Criminal Court of Santiago began the investigation on the alleged misfortune of Alberto Fioraso Chau. At the tribunal Francisco Urbina, as well as the father of the victim, Albano Fioraso Montenegro testified as witnesses of the arrest and imprisonment. They handed over the records of the arrest and imprisonment of Alberto Fioraso Chau. On July 20th the tribunal was informed about the news of the so called “119” and the order to ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for information was given. That Ministry never answered and on February 28th 1976 the summary was closed and a temporary stay of proceedings was dictated citing that the crime had not been proven. On March 4th of that year, the Court in Santiago aproved the postponement of the proceedings. On March 29th 1979 the case reopened by the petition of the affected parties, which required the presence of Eduardo Ortiz at the tribunal. Two months later, the case was handled by the visiting minister Servando Jordan, who had been nominated to investigate the disappearance of people arrested by the security service at the departament in Santiago. Francisco Urbina testified again and pointed out that one of the civilians that had beaten Fioraso in the courtyard of the 9th Police Station was in one of the pictures that he saw at the tribunal and looked similar to the DINA agent Osvaldo Romo. The former police inspector of the unit where the victim had been imprisoned, Major Luis Ignacio Zuniga, stated to the minister that he could neither remember the facts, the victim nor meetings with the mother or the lawyer. Furthermore, the register books of that time had been burned following an order, according to the police authority. On July 11th 1979 a charge of kidnapping came before the same tribunal against Eduardo Ortiz Farias, Norma Pajkuric and whoever else might be responsible, and got filed into the same cause. It was only on July 25th 1979 that the Minister of Foreign Affairs answered a new question posed by minister Jordan, stating that there was no evidence to assure that the affected person had been granted asylum. At the same time, those accused also testified denying the charges made against them. Furthermore, the woman (Norma Pajkuric) denied knowing Ortiz, although Ortiz conceded that he knew her. She continued her denial in an encounter between her and Ortiz. There were also encounters organized between major Zuniga, the mother of Fioraso and with Franciso Urbina, Fioraso’s friend arrested under the same circumstances. It is important to point out that during this time Ortiz avoided his appearing at the tribunal. The only policemen that acknowledged what happened on June 17th 1974 at the 9th Policestation was captain Luis Hidalgo Lopez, who stated that Fioraso had been arrested by a “Civil Commission” of that station, based on suspicion. Major Zuniga informed him that Fioraso would be let go at 6 pm, but this was moved to 3pm on June 18th. On December 19th 1979, Minister Jordan decided to declare the case to be out of his competency and to transfer the proceedings to the Military Tribunal since the issue of the arrest was clear, but not the dismissal performed by persons of military privilege. This ruling was appealed, but the Court denied the appeal and confirmed Minister Jordan’s incompetence.
In October 1980 the investigation continued at the 3rd Military Office at Santiago, under the number 78 80. During the processing of this case at this Military Tribunal, nothing new was added nor investigated, and on February 3rd 1982 the head attorney closed the summary and asked the judge to dictate a temporary stay of proceedings, as it was not possible to be sure whether persons of military privalege had intervened at the disappearance of Fioraso Chau. Nevertheless, the military judge ordered to re-open the summary and to attain records from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs related to the news regarding the case of the group of “the 119”. This information had been requested by the head at the 3rd Crime Tribunal. The answer of that state secretary was that there were no records according to the consulate in Argentina. ON August 10th 1982 the Military Head Attorney closed the summary again and again requested the temporary stay of the proceedings of the case. On the 18th of that month, the military judge, in the line of the judge’s ruling, decreed the temporary stay of the proceedings, due to lack of proof of the offence. This ruling was approved by the Military Court on March 25th 1983, rejecting an appeal presented against the decision. A complaint was presented to the Supreme Court, but was not accepted. On October 16th 1989, the Military Head Attorney took part of the case, asked for its re-opening and for application of the Amnesty Law 2191 dictated in April 1978 by the Military Regime, which would grant the complete and definitive stay of the proceedings of this case. The Head Attorney requested to use the same solution in other cases filed at the Military Court which are related to arrested and disappeared persons. The military judge received this request and ruled for the definitive stay of proceedings according to the Amnesty Law 2192. This resolution was appealed and on September 14th 1990 the Military Court accepted the appeal and revoked the resolution of the military attorney, changing the stay of proceedings from definitive to temporary. The head military attorney presented his complaints to the High Court, but this Court decided on April 24th 1991 that the temporary stay of proceedings was right because the crime had not been proven. The complaint was therefore not accepted. This rule implies that the investigation can be continued when new records are presented to clarify the dissappearance of Albano Fioraso Chau after he was arrested at the 9th Policestation on June 17th 1974.