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Torture Cases: Amnesty International Document (1983)


Case histories (A number of those examined are not being named, at their request.)

Case No.1

Pedro Leonardo López Fabbri

Personal details

He is 28 and worked as a school teacher until his imprisonment in 1975, Since then he has been a clothing retailer. He was married in 1974 and has two sons, aged three and six.

State of health before arrest

At the age of six, he sustained a trauma to the head and lost consciousness. An electroencephalogram test was taken and found to be normal. He has noticed some weakening of the muscles of the left hand, which is especially apparent under conditions of stress. No medical examination has ever revealed any neurological abnormalities.

Previous detention and alleged torture

He was arrested on 11 September 1973 in Valparaiso and held until 16 September. While in detention he was struck behind his right ear with a rifle butt. He did not lose consciousness. He was also struck on his left knee and left elbow. He was not systematically tortured.

From 6 April until 27 June 1975 he was detained in Silva Palma navy detention centre in Valparaiso. For the first 22 days he was held incommunicado, during which time he claims to have undergone psychological torture involving threats and accusations broadcast to him and the other prisoners for about eight hours a day. During this period of detention he tried to commit suicide by throwing himself out of a second-storey window but was prevented from doing so.

Time and place of arrest and detention

He was arrested again on 25 March 1982. He was taken to the CNI centre in Santiago where

he was held until 4 April when he was transferred to Valparaiso, from where he was released on 8 April..

Duration of alleged torture

He said he was tortured at the CNI centre on seven days; on the last five days the torture was exclusively psychological.

Interrogation and torture

His account of events was as follows:

He was arrested at 2.30 pm on 25 March 1982. No arrest-warrant was shown. He was blindfolded and forced into a car, in which he was driven for about half an hour. When they reached their destination he was led down a concrete spiral staircase to a large room where he was told to undress and then was given overalls and zapatillas (lightweight footwear). His b!indfold was exchanged for a mask. He was then taken to his cell, which measured about l.5m by 2m and a little over 2m high. The cell contained a concrete bunk plus mattress, pillow and a blanket.

His first interrogation took place two days after arrest. It was conducted in another room in the presence of about five other people. He was asked about his connections with political parties. He was beaten: struck on the head, punched on the right side of his chest and beaten with a rubber truncheon on the shoulders. Afterwards he was stretched out on a bed, to which his wrists were tied with cloth, this causing sharp, painful extension of the elbows. A cloth strap was tied round his thighs; his ankles were tied down and his head was put in a special device which prevented him from raising it. He was gagged with a towel. A metal object was fastened to the inner side of his right foot. Two electrodes (in addition to the one fastened to his foot) were then used to administer electric shocks to the lobe of his right ear, to his chest, abdomen, testicles, penis area, anus, legs and the soles of his feet. He was electrically tortured three times that day. He thought the electrodes used were electric wires. While he was being electrically tortured he could hear a generator, so he believed it was possible to vary the current. He did not lose consciousness during the electric torture, nor did he have generalized convulsions.

Two days later he was again interrogated and electrically tortured while naked.

Other types of torture inflicted on him included burning with a cigarette lighter in the kidney region and on the palms of both hands. The burns were superficial and left no marks.

He was in addition psychologically tortured for five days, on two of which he was interrogated for eight hours. During these sessions his family's and his own life were threatened and an attempt was made to hypnotize him by a man nicknamed "Doc", who was large and very fat. His mask was removed. He was first told to breathe deeply, then that the pain in his head was being shifted down to his legs. He was then told to conduct an imaginary orchestra and behave as though he were watching a Chaplin film. He was not actually hypnotized but behaved as though he were. He was also asked to write his life story.

He was held incommunicado for 10 days at the CNI centre, masked throughout, except when he was in his cell. He wore overalls and zapatillas. The food was good. He was allowed to use the toilet, but his cell was cold and he could not get warm, even though he had a blanket. His cell light was always on.

Medical examination and/or attention during detention

Immediately after he arrived at the CNI centre he had a medical examination, carried out, he believed, by a doctor. It consisted of examination of the heart and lungs and measurement of blood pressure. He was asked whether he had any bruises or other marks on his body and what illnesses he had previously had. The doctor was assisted by a woman-a nurse, he presumed. When he showed symptoms of anxiety, the doctor gave him two tranquillizers. He could not see the doctor because of the mask, but thought he was about 50. The doctor made a record of his findings, which the subject later saw when he signed his release papers.

While in prison he had diarrhoea. A medical assistant took him to the doctor, who provided treatment and recommended that he be allowed to stay in bed all day-which was normally forbidden.

Before he was transferred from the CNI centre to Valparaiso he was medically examined again.

Early symptoms described

During one of the torture sessions he had difficulty breathing and was given manual artificial respiration.

He said he had pain, swelling and an accumulation of blood around the elbow which he ascribed to the stretching of his elbows during electric torture. He had pain, swelling, discolouration, weakness and enhanced sensitivity to touch in his legs and feet. There were sharp pains and swelling in the part of his thorax where he had been punched on the right side. He had observed skin changes where he had been electrically tortured: the lowest part of the abdomen, both inguinal regions, the front of his thighs and the insides of his legs at the crura. He explained that the lesions were small and round with brown scabs. After about a week these scabs dropped off leaving some lighter areas which later became hyperpigmented.

During torture he suffered from tachycardia.

He lost 2kg while in prison. Once he vomited, and he had diarrhoea, with accompanying abdominal pains, for four days. There was no blood in the stools.

For four days he had blood in his urine and had pain when he urinated; his testicles were swollen.

While in detention he had headaches around the forehead.

He also suffered from insomnia and nightmares. He was depressed, felt passive and lethargic and easily got tired. He would weep for almost no reason.

Present symptoms described

The leg is still painful after walking for only a short while. There is also some swelling, and he feels weaker and more sensitive to touch. He complains of pains on the inner side of the right elbow. There are no gastrointestinal or urological svmptoms. He still has headaches around the forehead, particularly when he is under stress.

He feels isolated, somewhat as if he were "under a glass bell", but does not have any actual relationship problems.

He suffers from insomnia and nightmares and he awakens easily and frequently. He has been given tranquillizers, which he says help. He feels rather depressed, somewhat passive and lethargic and gets tired easily. He is emotionally labile.

Medical documentation

There is a certificate of a physical examination by a local doctor, dated 12 April 1982, which states:

"Physical examination: There were groups of punctiform, small round burns, scattered over various parts of the body and red burns in the inguinal region and on the thighs, legs and ankles.

"He had pain and tenderness in both ankles and in the middle line of the right thigh. Part of the skin on the thigh and feet is whitish-pink with desquamation of the epidermis, as if punched out. The thigh lesion is lOcm long and 0.5cm wide.

"Diagnosis: Groups of several small, punctiform burns, clustered and diffused (burns caused by electricity); circular erosions on thighs and scabs on the feet; contusion of the ribs on the right side; anxiety."

Clinical examination (one month after the alleged torture)

He seemed somewhat tense but otherwise normal mentally.

There was tenderness in both temporal regions.

Thorax: There was local tenderness and pain on springing the ribs. This was most marked over the right eighth and ninth ribs in the midclavicular line.

X-ray thorax (27 April 1982): Normal.

There was tenderness in the trapezius muscle of the shoulder.

There was tenderness and slight swelling of the right medial epicondyle but no limitation of movement.

There was oedemic swelling of both ankles, particularly on the right side. There was marked tenderness over the medial aspect of the lower tibiae, particularly on the right.

Peripheral nervous system: There was altered sensation in the medial part of both legs, especially of the right leg. There was normal sensitivity to pain.

Skin: A number of small, hyperpigmented spots, about 2mm in diameter and often present in clusters, were evident on the entire abdomen as well as proximally on the thighs adjacent to the perineum. On the right leg were two scars measuring l7mm by 7mm and 9mm by 5mm. The central parts of the scars were pale, atrophic and shiny, and there was a reddish purple poorly defined margin.


The medical delegates found consistency between the torture alleged and the symptoms described. There was consistency also between the symptoms described and the description given by a local doctor two weeks after the alleged torture. The findings of the examination by the medical delegates, carried out one month after the alleged torture, were consistent with the symptoms described.


Case No.2


Personal details

He is 21, unmarried and lives with his parents. He went through high school and is now doing a course in journalism. While he was a student he was also for a time a telephone operator but was dismissed before being detained. He is supported by his parents.

State of health before arrest

When he was two he had tonsillitis, which was apparently complicated by endocarditis. Prophylactic penicillin was prescribed during the subsequent 10 winters.

Time and place of arrest and detention

He was arrested in the first quarter of 1982. He was held at the CNI centre in Santiago for 19 days then transferred to the Cárcel Pública (Public Prison), where he stayed until his release on bail, 45 days after arrest.

Duration of alleged torture

He said he was tortured on 19 days. On the last 14 the torture was exclusively psychological.

Interrogation and torture

His account of events was as follows:

About 12 people in civilian clothes broke into his home in the first quarter of 1982. No arrest-warrant was shown. They searched the premises for two hours and arrested him, his father and another relative. They hooded and handcuffed him, then drove him to the CNI centre.

For the first five days he was interrogated several times a day, and simultaneously tortured, mainly physically. He was slapped and struck on the head, mouth, body and genitals, and his buttocks and extremities were kicked. He was also electrically tortured on two occasions, each lasting five minutes. He was made to sit on a chair and electric current was applied to his back via a cable conducting current from a machine he thought was hand-driven.

The interrogations continued for the next 14 days he spent at the CNI centre. They included threats, including threats of execution (a pistol was aimed at his temple) and threats to arrest his family.

He often heard his father and relative screaming while they were being tortured. And he heard the voice of a woman who was not his mother, although he was told it was her voice so frequently that eventually he believed it was. (She has not been imprisoned.)

He was held incommunicado throughout the 19 days in a 2m by 2m concrete cell containing a concrete bunk plus a thin mattress. He wore overalls and zapatillas and was forced to wear amask except when alone in his cell. His cell light was always on.

Medical examination and/or attention during detention

Both before he was tortured at the CNI centre and before he left he was given a superficial medical examination, by a doctor, he thought. It included measurement of blood pressure and auscultation of the chest.

His pulse was taken every day he was at the CNI centre. On one occasion he was given tab-lets for diarrhoea.

Early symptoms described

He had aches and pains and felt weak all over, especially in his arms and legs.

After being hit on the mouth he lost an upper tooth, No.24, and the frenulum of his lower lip bled.

He had diarrhoea for three or four days while at the CNI centre. He had pain in the buttocks and near the anus (as a result of kickings, he said). His left testicle too was painful (because of the beatings, he thought).

Throughout his detention he had headaches every day. After being allowed to remove the mask he found his vision was impaired. Periodically he had double vision and his eyes got tired when he read (the letters began to blur after about 10 minutes).

He got retrosternal pain several times a week, and palpitations of tile heart lasting for about 15 minutes, when resting. (This was related to anxiety, he thought.) He had never had such symptoms before. While he was at the CNI centre he lost his sense of time-could not tell night from day. He felt suicidal because of anxiety lest he reveal information. He suffered from insomnia and nightmares and was gloomy, emotionally labile and indifferent.

Present symptoms described

He feels unusually tired and weak and still has pain in his left testicle, although this is diminishing. He gets headaches starting at about noon every day. They are exacerbated by reading, and he still has vision problems: periodic double vision and blurring of letters on the page after he has been reading for about 10 minutes.

He still feels gloomy, emotionally labile and indifferent. He stays at home most of the time and is not involved in anything (partly because he is under surveillance and cannot meet his former friends outside his home).

He suffers from continuing, though less frequent, episodes of precordial pain and palpitations of the heart while resting (probably due to anxiety), and from serious insomnia and nightmares.

Clinical examination

He seemed depressed. Although prepared to cooperate, he was passive, slow and hard to make contact with. He had difficulty expressing himself.

Duration of alleged torture

He said he was tortured on 16 days while at the CNI centre in Santiago.

The clinical examination revealed bad teeth, many of them decayed. There was a large cavity in No.24 and the crown was almost completely gone (see photograph). The lower frenulum of the lip was irregular and had small sores on it. He had muscular pains in the left flank and tenderness in the epididymis.


The medical delegates found consistency between the torture alleged, the symptoms described and the results of the physical examination.


Case No. 3


Personal details

She is 19. Before her arrest she was training to be a social worker. Since her release she has been unemployed. She is unmarried. The man she lived with before her arrest is now in prison and she lives with her uncle.

State of health before arrest

She was in good health.

Time and place of arrest and detention

She was arrested in Santiago in the first quarter of 1981. No arrest-warrant was shown. She was taken to the CNI centre in the city and held there until her release 19 days later.

Duration of alleged torture

She claimed that while she was at the CNI centre she was tortured on 17 days, on the last three of which the torture was exclusively psychological.

Interrogation and torture

Her account of events was as follows:

During interrogation she was slapped all over the body and punched in the face, breasts and abdomen. She was kicked on the buttocks and backs of the thighs, usually while lying down. On one occasion when she was in her cell an interrogator seized her hair and banged the back and right side of her head against the wall. She did not lose consciousness. She was electrically tortured. She was stretched out on a metal bed with hands and feet bound. She was given shocks on the temples, chest and heel. A metal object was applied to her vaginal labia and she was electrically tortured there, but the device was not forced inside.

On about the eighth day she was sexually tortured. She was stripped naked and her blind-fold was removed. She was made to lie on the floor then kicked and raped by four men, one of whom subjected her to fellatio. This type of torture lasted about an hour. They also threatened to violate her with a dog and to lock her in a room with rats.

She was told the man she had been living with had been killed. She was then taken into a room where a corpse lay with its face covered and told it was this man. She knew it was not however, as the body's height and build were different from his. The corpse had been split open down the middle and there were wounds on the abdomen. It was beginning to decompose, and she was forced to lie right by it facing it. At one stage the towel was removed from its decomposing face.

On five occasions she was taken into a small, very hot room and left there for a few minutes. She had a burning feeling all over but did not think she actually was burned.

She was taken into a room full of rats, but managed to jump up on a bed and so escaped from them. She was threatened: the interrogators said they would kill her, the man she had been living with and her parents. She was also insulted and called a whore.

On each of the last five days of her imprisonment a "friendly" interrogator visited her. He was very fatherly and asked her about her friendships and her life history. He repeatedly assured her (almost hypnotizing her in the process) that she had been very well treated.

She was partially deprived of sleep for the first 14 days, getting only a few hours' sleep between each interrogation session. She was held incommunicado throughout her 19 days at the CNI centre. She was blindfold all the time except when in her cell, when being sexually tortured and when confronted with the corpse. She was naked during several of the torture sessions; the rest of the time she wore overalls and zapatillas.

She was handcuffed all the time (including when she ate) except when she went to the toilet. The food was adequate. The day after her arrival at the CNI centre, she was photographed in her cell, which was about 3m by 2m and contained a concrete bunk, blankets and a pillow.

Medical examination and/or attention during detention

On arrival at the CNI centre she was examined by a man, probably, she thought, a doctor. The examination included taking her pulse and blood pressure. She was examined again before release.

After every torture session she was medically examined and her pulse and blood pressure were taken.

The "friendly" interrogator arranged for a doctor to examine her. The doctor said she had caught cold, said she should have more blankets and gave her some tablets.

Medical personnel involved in torture

Before she was sexually tortured she was injected with an unknown substance in the right cubital fossa. (She could not tell who gave her the injection.) She was also injected in the right shoulder.

Early symptoms described

Her recollection of the first 14 days at the CNI centre was hazy as she had partially lost her sense of time. All she wanted to do was die, and she asked them to kill her rather than keep torturing her. She tried to commit suicide. She fainted several times while being tortured, then recovered consciousness in her cell. She had pains all over her body after being beaten and electrically tortured. She had headaches and vomited (she said there was blood in the vomit). After torture she could not walk very well and her arms, legs and hands were swollen. This condition lasted for about a month. The skin on her right buttock and the outside of her thigh was discoloured but the discolouration faded quite fast. Apart from that she had no marks on her body.

After her release she lost her appetite and her upper abdomen ached after eating; and for some time after release she felt as though she were sleep-walking. She could not weep even though she was miserable. She felt utterly indifferent to everything and wanted to be left alone. She was bothered by noise and light, which gave her a headache. She often lay awake at night; at other times she had nightmares.

She lost 13kg while in detention. (After release she went to a doctor because she was aching all over, especially her back and left knee, and because of a vaginal discharge and irritation. She was treated for a pelvic inflammation disease and urinary tract infection.)

She did not menstruate for the first three months after release and since then has done so somewhat irregularly, her periods being heavier and much more painful than before. Since her release, she has had headaches, especially at the back of the head and around the temples. She went to an optician who told her she needed spectacles. Probably, however, this visual defect is not of recent origin.

For a short time after release she had respiratory difficulties: she coughed and expectorated and had spells of whistling and gasping when trying to breathe.

Towards the end of her time at the CNI centre she could no longer recall what had happened to her and was not sure whether she had been hypnotized. This loss of memory persisted even after she had been released. She wanted to be alone. Her sleep was disturbed by nightmares; she was afraid and had difficulty falling asleep. Later she went to a psychiatrist and had group therapy. In mid-1981 she broke down during a session with her psychiatrist; then she began to remember what had happened to her at the CNI centre. She had a traumatic experience and spent 15 days in a psychiatric hospital. Gradually she began to remember everything that had occurred at the CNI centre.

After leaving hospital she was in a rehabilitation centre for a week, then visited her parents. On several occasions she has behaved as though she were being tortured-has cried, screamed and flung herself about. This last occurred early in 1982. She has been treated with medication.

Present symptoms described

Her left knee and back (around the spinal column) still ache when she moves them. She can now breathe normally again and a recent chest X-ray revealed nothing abnormal.

Recently she has had several bouts of vomiting and a heavy feeling in the stomach and acid reflux after eating. It still occasionally hurts when she urinates; however, her doctor has not found any bacteria in her urine.

Her menstrual cycle is somewhat irregular and her periods are heavier than before. She gets menstrual pain during the first three days of each period.

She gets headaches at the back of the head and around the temples. They last about two hours and are bad enough to make her lie down. She has difficulty reading and can do so only for about half an hour at a time without getting a headache. She cannot concentrate for long stretches, and is apt to get restless and feel cooped up. She feels different from how she was before she was arrested and likes to be left on her own.

She suffers from insomnia and awakens easily. She feels more withdrawn and nervous. She still sees a psychiatrist, who has treated her with chlorpromazine, imipramine and sleeping tablets.

Clinical examination (nearly 14 months after the alleged torture)

She seemed somewhat tense and melancholy but was cooperative. In the abdominal region there was tenderness in the upper epigastrium and in both iliac fossae. (A gynaecological examination was not carried out.) There was tenderness over the spinal process of thoracic vertebrae II, III, VIII, IX and X.


She said her memory was impaired for about four months and she could not remember certain things she has now said happened to her at the CNI centre.

There are several plausible psychiatric explanations for this. She may be suffering from a reactive psychosis, as is suggested by her loss of time sense, low state of mind plus suicidal thoughts and the fact that she has clearly experienced sufficient emotional trauma to justify such a diagnosis. Or she may have been the victim of a form of hypnotic suggestion, leading her to "forget" what the authorities had done to her and to accept their views totally. Or else her condition may constitute a type of defence mechanism involving a denial of what she went through. Most likely, however, it is a combination of all three.

The medical delegates found complete consistency between the torture alleged and the symptoms described. The findings of their examination, carried out nearly 14 months after the alleged torture, were consistent also with the symptoms described.


Case No.4


Personal details

He is 28. His father was an officer who resigned after the military coup. He studied history and geography at university, but has not been able to get work as a teacher since graduating in 1979. He therefore became a sales agent. Because of a knee operation, he has been off sick since early 1982. He is married. His wife was pregnant at the time of his arrest. Their child was born 11 days later.

State of health before arrest

His left knee was injured in mid-1973 and he was in hospital for almost a month. After he left hospital he continued to suffer pain in the knee, so his left medial meniscus was removed in early 1982.

Ever since 1973 he has had sporadic "nervous heart" attacks with precordial pain and difficulty in breathing. Apart from this he did not connect any symptoms with his arrest and detention in 1973.

Previous detention and alleged torture

He was arrested and held briefly in 1973 after attending a student meeting which was surrounded by the police. He was kicked and pistol-whipped all over. Afterwards, he was taken to a boat called the "Maipo", where he was not actually ill-treated, although he was held in appalling sanitary conditions.

Time and place of arrest and detention

He was arrested in the first quarter of 1982 and held at the CNI centre in Valparaiso for 10 days. He was then transferred to the CNI centre in Santiago, where he was held for a week. Then he was moved to Valparaiso prison, where he remained until his unconditional release 21 days after arrest.

Duration of alleged torture

He was tortured on 10 days; on four of them the torture was exclusively psychological. He was held incommunicado for 16 days.

Interrogation and torture

His account of events was as follows:

In mid-March five men in plain-clothes who said they were members of SICAR, the Carabineros' intelligence agency, searched his home and removed several of his belongings. No arrest-warrant was shown. He was taken down to a car, hooded and threatened.

They drove him to an old house in Valparaiso, where he was made to sit on a chair to which his hands and feet were tied. He was asked about his personal relationships and kept tied to the chair all night.

He stayed tied to the chair throughout the following day, forced to listen to a cassette recording of a Mexican song played over and over again at full volume. The door was opened loudly a number of times during the day, but those who opened it said nothing to him.

That night he was allowed to go to bed but was tied to it by one hand. During the night he was woken up several times by somebody kicking him in the stomach.

Next day he was tied to the chair again and made to listen to music all day. In the evening, he was interrogated and kicked and beaten, mainly in the abdomen and on the back. He was undressed and electrically tortured for about an hour, primarily on the back and neck.

He sat on the chair throughout the next day, listening to the cassette player. In the evening he was interrogated for an hour and a half. During the interrogation he was punched on the body and neck, hit on the back of the head three or four times, slapped on the face and underwent teléfono from five to 10 times. He was also frequently threatened with "disappearance" and execution.

The next day he was tied to the chair again and made to listen to a loud radio all day. A basic medical examination was carried out by a person who claimed to be a doctor.

He was interrogated for most of the following afternoon. Every time he refused to answer he was punched, mainly on the nose, which bled.

The next day he was interrogated, threatened and insulted, but the day after he was not interrogated - although he was made to spend the entire time sitting tied to a chair.

On the following day a "friendly" interrogator chatted to him all day trying to persuade him to tell the truth and so avoid further torture. Later someone else threatened him again with execution.

He was not interrogated the following day, but the day after his clothes were returned to him and he was made to sign various forms. Then some evidently important person came and shouted that they were incorrectly filled in. All his belongings were again removed and he was taken down to a car. He thought he was going to be killed and felt both frightened and resigned. Instead, however, he was taken to the CNI centre in Santiago where he was given overalls and zapatillas and was blindfolded. He was put in a small concrete cell measuring about 2m by 1.5m. That evening a person he took to be a doctor examined him with a stethoscope and measured his blood pressure, and he was interrogated yet again, this interrogation being far worse than any of the previous ones. He was made to lie on a bed and was severely beaten, including on the knee which had just been operated on. He was electrically tortured more severely than before with two electrodes, one attached to his chest, the other shifted about from his testicles to his right ankle to the lobe of his right ear. Later the picana torture was inflicted with a pencil-shaped object on his face and lips. A dry cloth was put over his mouth and nose a number of times, which made him feel as though he were being suffocated. Each time he nearly fainted. When he was finally taken back to his cell he heard the voice and screams of a friend (also interviewed by the medical delegates-Case No. 1).

He was left in his cell throughout the next two days. Someone who he thought may have been a doctor applied cream to his bruises.

The following day he was interrogated and beaten, in particular on the abdomen and back.

Next day the "doctor" came to his cell and tried to hypnotize him, but, by making a strenuous effort, he managed to resist this.

He was taken to the Fiscalía Militar (Military Prosecutor's Office) the following day and, still blindfold, made to sign some papers.

Next day he was given back his clothes and belongings and driven to the CNI centre in Valparaiso then on to Valparaiso prison, where he was no longer kept in isolation.

He was freed after 21 days but followed by agents for two days after release.

Resumé of interrogation and torture

He was slapped, particularly in the face. He underwent teléfono a number of times. He was frequently punched, once on the neck, once on the nose (which gave him a nosebleed) and many times in the abdomen and on the back, arms and legs. He was frequently kicked, in particular on the buttocks and the knee that had just been operated on.

He was electrically tortured twice: once in Valparaiso for an hour and once in Santiago. The shocks were administered on the lobe of his right ear, chest, testicles, right ankle, neck and back. Picana torture (at a lower voltage) was inflicted too, particularly on the lips, ear-lobes and cheeks.

He was gagged a number of times in such a way that he could not breathe and nearly fainted.

He was partially deprived of sleep the first two nights and made to spend an entire night naked, as well as being naked during several interrogation sessions.

He received many threats. He was threatened with execution and "disappearance", with being tortured in other ways, and with the imprisonment of his wife. He was tortured by noise for many days: forced to hear the same tune on a cassette player again and again at maximum volume.

An attempt was made to hypnotize him, and the "friendly" interrogator tried to get him to give information.

He was kept in isolation and blindfold for 16 days. For the first 10 days he was forced to sit up straight, tied to a chair. Except for the first night, when he was forced to remain sitting, he was allowed to sleep in bed. For his five days in Santiago he was kept in a concrete cell measuring about l.5m by 2m..

Medical examination and/or attention during detention

Once in Valparaiso and the first day in Santiago he was examined by someone claiming to be a doctor. During his final days at the CNI centre in Santiago he was given ointment to rub on his skin in order, he thought, to hasten the disappearance of his bruises.

Early symptoms described

After being tortured he was tired and stiff, felt sore all over and could hardly move. Near both elbows were two parallel blue stripes which he said were the result of the tight binding of his arms with cord during torture. The cords were tied especially tightly during electric torture when his arms moved involuntarily. There were bruises on the right hypogastrium, as well as medially on the left leg just under the knee. His nose bled after being punched, his lip was swollen for a week and his ears itched and were scaly in the auditory canal. He suffered from precordial pain in the chest, without radiation, and had difficulty breathing for about half an hour several times a week. This happened particularly at night, and he himself believed it was due to anxiety since he had had similar anxiety attacks before being arrested. He had nightmares and his memory was somewhat impaired. Just after he was released he found himself forgetting small matters, such as where he had put things, appointments and telephone numbers. He was emotionally labile, irritable and aggressive.

Present symptoms described

He still has slight discomfort in his left knee and pain in the medial part of his left calf, where he can feel a hard lump near the tibia. He suffers from "nervous" attacks of difficulty in breathing about once a week. His memory is slightly impaired.

Clinical examination (one month after the alleged torture)

He was well-balanced and relaxed, cooperated with the interviewer and was able to give a clear and detailed account of what had happened to him.

There was some soreness in the medial anterior cleft of his left knee, and a slight atrophy of the quadriceps muscle. On the medial side of the left tibia, between 16cm and 19cm below the knee, there was a 3cm by 2cm hard, indolent lump, unattached to the skin and tibia (it felt very much like an organized haematoma). The skin over the knot was unchanged.

Medial to this area and between 12cm and 16cm distal to the knee joint a 5cm-long, 1cm-diameter, rod-shaped indolent swelling could be felt (probably an area of superficial phlebitis).

Near both elbows were two sets of two light brown pigmented parallel stripes 1cm wide and separated by 2cm, crossing each other approximately in the middle of the bend of the elbow.


The medical delegates found consistency between the torture alleged, the symptoms described and the clinical findings.


Source: Chile: Evidence of torture: an Amnesty International report, London (Amnesty International Publications 1983). The degitised text was obtained from the website: http://members.tripod.com/~mneumann/pinochet.html

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