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Chile: Generals guilty, trafficked arms to Croatia

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) – Chile’s Supreme Court on Friday unanimously convicted two retired generals of illegal weapons sales to Croatia 20 years ago in violation of a United Nations embargo.

Retired Army Gen. Hector Letelier Skinner and retired Air Force Gen. Vicente Rodriguez Bustos were sentenced to three years each. Eight others also were convicted. All were allowed to serve their terms at home.

Chile sent 36 crates of weapons and ammunition to Budapest on a private plane in 1992. The shipment, smuggled in as humanitarian aid, was intercepted just as the Balkan Wars were turning to genocide.

The case also was linked to the death of Col. Gerardo Huber, a top official in the Chilean army’s logistics division who had informed dictator Augusto Pinochet of the wrongdoing. Huber died before he could testify, and it was initially labeled suicide, but a judge later determined that someone else shot him in the head before he was thrown from a bridge. His killing has never been solved.

Huber’s boss, Gen. Carlos Krumm, was not found to be responsible in the weapons case. Krumm testified that the illegal arms sale was personally approved by Pinochet. The former dictator was serving pretrial house arrest in the weapons scheme and for rights violations when he died in 2006.

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