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Chileans charged in U.S. prof's kidnapping

Aug. 22, 2012 at 9:18 AM   |   Comments

SANTIAGO, Chile, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Eight retired Chilean police and military officials were ordered arrested in the 1985 disappearance of a U.S. university professor, officials said.

Three police officers and four members of a military patrol in the area near the Chile-Argentina border were charged with kidnapping and concealment in the disappearance of Boris Weisfeiler and one other officer was indicted as an accomplice, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Weisfeiler was 43 when he disappeared during Gen. Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship. Americans Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi were killed following the military coup in which Pinochet rose to power in 1973.

The indictment issued Tuesday by Judge Jorge Zepeda did not include murder charges or address the circumstances of Weisfeiler's presumed death.

The indictment said three members of a police patrol near Nuble arrested Weisfeiler sometime between Jan. 3 and 5, 1985, assuming Weisfeiler was a militant who crossed the Chile-Argentina border illegally, the Times said. The officers then hid their actions by claiming Weisfeiler, a math professor at Penn State, drowned and have stuck to the story since.

The Times said Weisfeiler's case was reopened in 2000 after President Bill Clinton's administration declassified documents -- cited in Zepeda's indictment -- indicating Weisfeiler, a Russian Jew, could have been turned over a German religious cult, tortured, then executed.

The judge's ruling didn't address where Weisfeiler may have been taken after his arrest.

"My family and I are pleased that there is finally some concrete progress and that we may finally learn the truth about what happened to my brother," sister Olga Weisfeiler of Newton, Mass., told the Times. "We have been waiting for this day for 27 long years. I am also hopeful that those ordered arrested will speak the truth and lift the burden of lies from their shoulders."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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