Argentina detains Chile dictatorship fugitive

Argentina has arrested a Chilean fugitive wanted for dozens of murders committed during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, the government in Buenos Aires said Sunday.

Walther Klug Rivera, a retired army colonel, was arrested on Saturday near his hotel in the Argentine capital; authorities had spotted him earlier in the month when he attempted to board a flight to Spain, it said.

He had been sentenced in 2014 by the Supreme Court in Chile to 10 years in prison.

“We have ordered the expulsion of Chilean citizen Walther Klug Rivera, who entered Argentina illegally while escaping justice in his own country, where he stands accused of the murder of 23 people during the Pinochet dictatorship,” Interior Minister Eduardo de Pedro said on Twitter.

Klug Rivera was the head of a detention camp during the Pinochet years and is accused of the killings of workers at two hydroelectric power plants as well as the kidnapping of university student Luis Angel Cornejo Fernandez, listed as disappeared.

He had sought to board a flight to Spain on June 1 from Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, but immigration officials detected irregularities in his passport.

There was no international arrest warrant for Klug Rivera’s arrest at the time and he had to be freed, according to the security ministry.

Interpol issued a warrant on June 9, resulting in his arrest on Saturday.

Klug Rivera had fled from Chile twice. After the first escape, he was arrested in Italy in 2019 and extradited in 2020.

At least 3,200 people were killed or disappeared during Pinochet’s dictatorship from 1973 to 1990. An estimated 38,000 were tortured.