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Marcelo Moren Brito

Convicted several times for forced disappearances, war crimes and torture; last conviction on 11 January 2008 to 10 years; Sentenced to 30 years imprisonment in France on 17 December 2010.

In 1998, Moren Brito was accused of the enforced disappearance of several communist militants and placed in pre-trial detention. However, during the time that the judge assigned to the case was on a short vacation, the replacement judge discretely freed Moren Brito on the grounds of ‘ne bis in idem’ (the impossibility to judge a person twice for the same crime, which was not the case) and put an end to the proceedings.

In 2003, Moren Brito was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison for having ordered the torture and forced disappearance of the journalist Diana Aron in 1974. On 1 June 2005, the Appeals Court of Santiago reversed the decision, applied the amnesty law and cleared Moren Brito and his four co-accused: Manuel Contreras, Pedro Espinoza, Miguel Krassnoff Marchenko and Osvaldo Romo. On 30 May 2006, the Supreme Court annulled the Appeals Court decision and applied the first instance verdict of 10-years.

On 16 April 2003, Moren Brito was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison for the forced disappearance of Miguel Angel Sandoval. The judge held that a forced disappearance constituted an ongoing crime against humanity, to which the amnesty law did not apply.

On 6 January 2004 the 5th Chamber of the Appeals Court confirmed the refusal to apply the amnesty law but slightly modified the judge’s verdict, by reducing the sentence to 11 years in prison.

On 18 November 2004, the Supreme Court issued an historic verdict by rejecting the application of the amnesty law and confirming the sentence.

In early February 2005, Moren Brito was transferred to Cordillera prison.

In December 2004 Moren Brito was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his part in the abduction and disappearance of Manuel Cortéz Joo. Moren Brito and his accomplices were also required to pay 20 million pesos (25 000 €) to the family of the victim.

On 3 September 2004, an investigation was opened up against him and 16 other agents of the DINA for the alleged disappearance of 37 members of the MIR (Revolutionary Left Movement) within the context of “Operation Colombo” in 1975.

On 19 December 2006, Moreno Brito and 6 other accused were sentenced to 4 years in prison for the forced disappearance of Cecilia Bojanic and Flavio Oyarzún..

On 11 January 2008, Moren Brito, together with former officer Jose Friz Esparza and General Manuel Contreras was found guilty by the Chilean Appeals Court of the kidnapping of 7 leaders of La Legua in December 1973. He was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

Moren Brito is currently detained at the Penal Cordillera military prison .


Since 1998, Moren Brito is wanted by the French judicial authorities for the alleged forced disappearance in 1974 of French-Chilean citizen Alphonse Chanfreau, a member of the MIR.

On 8 December 2010, a trial against Moren Brito together with other 12 Chilean and an Argentinean began before the Paris Justice Tribunal. Moren Brito and the other defendants are accused of participating in the kidnapping and torture of French-Chilean citizens Etienne Pesle, Jean-Yves Claudet, Alfonso Chanfreau and Georges Klein between 1973 and 1975, during the rule of the late Augusto Pinochet.

The trial in France is possible in virtue of the principle of passive personal jurisdiction -the victims are French.

The defendants are being tried by default (in absentia). Article 487 of the French Criminal Code stipulates that “any person duly summoned who does not appear in court at the time and date established, is tried by default”. Similarly, the French Code of Criminal Procedure establishes that “If the accused is at large or does not appear, he can be judged by default” (Article 270 of Law No. 2004-204 of 9 March 2004).

On 17 December 2010 he was sentenced to 30 years in prison, the Court found him guilty of torture, kidnapping and detention of Alphonse Chanfreau on 30 July 1974.

Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Fact sheet

Chile 2017 2017  - 2017 2017  - 2017
2017  - 2017
Crimes against humanity
Enforced disappearances
Deprivation of life

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