Chile wants U.S. to extradite 3 involved in dictatorship-era killing of U.N. diplomat

The Chilean Supreme Court said Tuesday that it will ask the United States to extradite three former secret police agents accused of the 1976 kidnapping, torture and murder of a U.N. official in Chile.

The top court said U.S. citizen Michael Townley, Armando Fernandez Larios of Chile and Cuban Virgilio Paz were co-authors of the killing of Carmelo Soria. The court said all three men are now living in the United States.

Soria, a 54-year-old Spanish diplomat, was working for the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America. He had advised President Salvador Allende, Chile's Marxist leader who killed himself rather than surrender during a 1973 coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

The accused worked for Chile's feared DINA secret police under Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorship. Prosecutors say they apparently targeted Soria because they were convinced he was helping Communists in Chile.

The investigation says Soria was captured by DINA agents in the streets of Santiago and died after being tortured. His killers later tried to make it appear he had been killed while driving drunk, prosecutors say.

Townley served a five-year sentence in a U.S. prison for the 1976 assassination in Washington of former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier and his American assistant, Ronni Moffitt.

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