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Washington Post e-mail


The following e-mail was sent to Joyce Horman by The Washington Post


May 15, 2002

Chile Re-Enacts Filmaker's Execution

By Eduardo Gallardo

SANTIAGO, Chile –– Chilean authorities on Tuesday re-enacted the slaying of a U.S. filmmaker whose execution shortly after Gen. Augusto Pinochet's bloody 1973 coup became the basis of the film "Missing."

Reporters were kept at distance, but the firing of blanks was clearly heard coming from the dressing-room area at Santiago's national soccer stadium, where Charles Horman was said to have been killed and the reenactment took place.

The reconstruction was led by Chilean judge Juan Guzman, who has sought unsuccessfully to try Pinochet on human rights charges. It was part of his investigation of Horman's case.

Sergio Corvalan, a lawyer for the Horman's widow, Joyce, called the procedure "extremely important for the investigation."

"Witnesses were able to provide key information on what happened at the stadium, the questioning and torture systems, the internal organization," Corvalan said.

Among the witnesses was Adam Schecsh, now an academic at the Universi! ty of Wisconsin, who also was detained at the stadium shortly after Pinochet seized power on Sept. 11, 1973.

Schecsh would only say that his return to the stadium was an emotional moment. Schecsh and his wife were detained in the stadium for eight days beginning Sept. 14, 1973, Corvalan said.

The stadium was used as a detention camp after Pinochet toppled Marxist President Salvador Allende. According to an official report by the civilian government that succeeded Pinochet, hundreds were detained and tortured there. At least 48 were executed, including Horman and other foreigners.

The Horman case was the subject of the 1982 Constantin Costa-Gavras film "Missing" starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek.

Guzman last year was authorized by the Supreme Court to submit a questionnaire to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and other American retired officials as part of his probe into Horman's death.

The 17 questions sent to the United States through diplomatic chann! els have yet to be answered. They center on the knowledge Kissinger and other U.S. authorities may have had of Horman's slaying.

Tuesday's reenactment also was attended by Frederick D. Purdy, the American consul in Santiago at the time. Purdy lives in Santiago and was summoned by Guzman.

Purdy said he was satisfied with the treatment he received from the judge.

"I am not worried. If I was, I wouldn't have been living here for the last 18 years," the retired diplomat said in Spanish.

Purdy told the judge that 24 Americans, including some Roman Catholic priests, were detained at the stadium, instead of nine as originally believed, Corvalan said.

Guzman began investigating Horman's death after the filmmaker's widow filed a criminal lawsuit in Chile against Pinochet.

The judge at one point indicted the 86-year-old Pinochet on human rights charges and succeeded in having his immunity as a member of the Chilean senate lifted. His efforts, however, were halted by a cour! t that determined Pinochet is physically and mentally unfit to stand trial.

According to official government figures, 3,197 people were killed for political reasons under Pinochet. More than 1,000 remain missing after being arrested by his security services.

Purchase this May 14th, 2002 article at (http://www.washingtonpost.com)