Chilean Court Confirms U.S. Role in 1973 Killings of Americans in Chilean Coup
July 1, 2014, New York – In response to a ruling yesterday by a Chilean court confirming the role of U.S. intelligence services in the 1973 murders of two American citizens, Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi, Charles Horman’s widow, Joyce Horman, said, “Judge Zepeda’s ruling both implicates and incriminates U.S. intelligence personnel as playing a dark role in the arrest of my husband.”
Two years ago, the Chilean Supreme Court sought to extradite retired U.S. Naval Captain Ray E. Davis for his role in the killings. Davis headed the U.S. military mission at the embassy in Santiago during the 1973 military coup by Augusto Pinochet. The U.S. government blocked the extradition, and Davis died last year.
“My hope is that the record of evidence compiled by the court sheds further light on how and why Charles was targeted, who actually ordered his murder, and what kind of information on one of its own citizens the U.S. government passed to the Chilean military who committed this heinous crime,” Ms. Horman continued. “I look forward to a final court room verdict and the verdict of history against those forces of violence who took my beloved husband from his family.”
In 1977, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed the case Horman v. Kissinger,
which charged former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and other high-ranking U.S. officials with complicity in the murder of Charles Horman. The U.S. denied any role in Horman’s death, but those denials were undermined by the emergence of a 1976 State Department memo that stated there was “negligence on our part, or worse, complicity in Horman’s death.” At the same time, the memo also said the State Department should refute any allegation implicating U.S. officials. While the suit helped uncover information regarding the role of the Pinochet regime and the U.S. Embassy in the Horman case, it was ultimately dismissed without prejudice because the U.S. government frustrated attempts to conduct discovery on grounds of national security.
CCR Vice President Peter Weiss has represented the Horman family in connection with both the Chilean and the U.S. litigation. He said, "It is gratifying to see Joyce's never flagging search for the truth about her husband's death finally bearing fruit. Sadly it is also shocking to note that, long before the drone murder of U.S. citizen al-Aulaqi, the U.S. government conspired with the Chilean government in the murder of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi. And no one even called them terrorists.”
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.