Torture survivor leads Chileans' battle for justice over Pinochet abuses
Inter-American court for human rights to give judgment on landmark compensation claim by 79-year-old Allende ally
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by Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent
May 6, 2013
Leopoldo García Lucero carries a disfiguring zigzag scar above his left eye where a police officer lacerated his face with the stock of a machine gun. The injury was inflicted nearly 40 years ago in the blood-stained basement of a Santiago police station during the military coup in Chile that toppled President Salvador Allende.
Next month, the 79-year-old torture survivor, most of whose teeth are missing from repeated beatings and interrogations, will discover whether his quest for justice, pursued for half his lifetime, has been rewarded.
García's claim has become the lead case for those seeking compensation from Chile and a full investigation of past crimes. It could set international standards about what constitutes just reparation for those tortured and exiled from their homeland.
The inter-American court of human rights, the continent's equivalent of the European court of human rights, is preparing to give final judgment on his lawsuit, which has taken 11 years to process.
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