Regional Stadium of Concepción
In Concepcion´s province it was possible to prove the frequent use of torture by members of the Army, especially by members of the Marines and the Carabineros. According to a report prepared by the Red Cross´ International Committee, in October 1973 there were 589 detainees in the regional stadium of Concepción, 44 of whom were women. The detainees stayed in seven of the changing rooms available at the stadium, some of which were of 12 x 18 mt, while others were 12 x 6 mt, with tiled floors which were covered by sawdust and straw. The testimonies of several political prisoners point at the widespread use of torture, rape and other humiliations carried out by members of the Armed Forces.
In his book “Prison in Chile”, Alejandro Whitker, arrested on September the 11th, at his own house and in presence of his wife and two children, and who after being held up at Cuarta Comisaria and at Isla Quiriquina, was later taken –in December- to the Concepcion´s Regional Stadium, he explains how “around midnight we left for Concepcion´s regional stadium in two coaches. One of the officers, boasting, carrying many guns, knives and grenades, besides of his machine gun, told us sharply: one suspicious situation and we will shoot…the next day, in the stadium´s corridors, we met around 500 political prisoners”
To these data we can add those offered by two ex-political prisoners: R.B.I. and L.H.C.V., who explain how they were “detained for months in that place alongside children, women and elderly people, whole families”.
According to the testimonies presented before the Valech Commission, the prisoners came from different towns in the region. Most of them had been previously arrested in police stations, investigative premises and prisons. They denounced that in the majority of these places they had been exposed to torture and mistreatment, so they often arrived in precarious physical and psychological conditions. From the regional stadium, political prisoners were taken to other premises such as Talcahuano´s Naval Base, Isla Quiquirina, Los Angeles Regiment, Prisons.
A significant group of prisoners affirm to have been taken from this place to Chacabuco´s Prisoners Camp, in the country´s second region, and from there to Puchuncavi´s Prisoners Camp, in the fifth region. The transfer to Chacabuco´s Prisoners Camp was made by plane, where prisoners were constantly threatened to be thrown into the sea.
Witnesses suggest that some of the compartments, with metal bars and without any sort of ventilation, were used to the effects of torture and incommunication. The only form on ventilation was a slot left between the floor and the bottom part of the door. Therefore, those incommunicated could not know whether it was day or night. After passing many days incommunicated, without water or food whatsoever, many detainees developed eyesight problems due to their confinement.
Ex-political prisoners denounced that they remained incommunicated for several months at once, without contact with their families and subject to tortures.
The explain how they were battered, exposed to ´mock executions´, the wet and dry ´submarine´, threats, humiliations, the application of electrical current, repeated blows to the sole of their feet, the ´telephone´, forced into unnatural positions, and forced to witness violent tortures inflicted upon other prisoners. Moreover, the victims affirm that they were forced to stand up during hours in the sun, without any water or food.
Testimony: [Political prisoner arrested in November 1973] “...being incommunicated for five days at the regional stadium, they used a ¾ hose in my mouth to force water into me…”
Criminals and Accomplices: Captain Miguel Sanchez (Army); Lieutenant Toledo (Army)
Sources of Information: Rettig Report; Red Cross International; Book “Prison in Chile”; CODEPU; Valech Report; Memoriaviva.com archive;
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