The Americas

Chile's ex-army commander detained in 1973 killing case

  • FILE - This Nov. 28, 2005 file photo, shows Chile's outgoing Army Chief Gen. Juan Emilio Cheyre at La Moneda government palace, in Santiago, Chile. The former army chief has been detained on Thursday, July 7, 2016, accused as an accomplice in the murder of 15 political activists in 1973 during the military dictatorship. (AP Photo/Santiago Llanquin, File)

    FILE - This Nov. 28, 2005 file photo, shows Chile's outgoing Army Chief Gen. Juan Emilio Cheyre at La Moneda government palace, in Santiago, Chile. The former army chief has been detained on Thursday, July 7, 2016, accused as an accomplice in the murder of 15 political activists in 1973 during the military dictatorship. (AP Photo/Santiago Llanquin, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This Nov. 28, 2005 file photo, shows Chile's outgoing Army Chief Gen. Juan Emilio Cheyre at La Moneda government palace, in Santiago, Chile. The former army chief has been detained on Thursday, July 7, 2016, accused as an accomplice in the murder of 15 political activists in 1973 during the military dictatorship. (AP Photo/Santiago Llanquin, File)

    FILE - This Nov. 28, 2005 file photo, shows Chile's outgoing Army Chief Gen. Juan Emilio Cheyre at La Moneda government palace, in Santiago, Chile. The former army chief has been detained on Thursday, July 7, 2016, accused as an accomplice in the murder of 15 political activists in 1973 during the military dictatorship. (AP Photo/Santiago Llanquin, File)  (The Associated Press)

The former commander in chief of the Chilean army has been taken into custody for his alleged participation in the killing of 15 left-wing militants at the start of that country's military dictatorship in 1973.

Retired Gen. Juan Emilio Cheyre was arrested Thursday on orders from Judge Mario Carroza, who heads investigations into human rights violations.

Cheyre was the army's commander in 2002-2006. He has denied the charges leveled against him, but has acknowledged that human rights abuses occurred during the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

In June, two former political prisoners said Cheyre had tortured them.