ALMONTE, June first of the
year nineteen ninety
appears before this Court, ALBERTO ENRIQUE NEUMANN LAGOS,
Chilean, native of Pisagua, married, physician, reads
and writes, RUN N. 3.752.215-5, domiciled in the city
of Valparaiso, Independencia Street N. 1718, under oath testifies
answer to your questions, while serving as city councilman
in Valparaiso and doctor at Deformes Hospital, I was arrested
at this institution on September 11, 1973, as a consequence
of the military coup that occurred that day.
remained prisoner in the Navy cadet school, the ship Esmeralda,
as of the day of my arrest until approximately September 16,
1973, on which date I was transferred to a holding room of
the Maipo, property of the South American Steamship Company.
this cargo ship I was transferred together with hundreds of
other detainees to Pisagua. I am not able to state precisely
how many of us were on that ship because we were kept in separate
September 18, 1973 we arrived at Pisagua and we were taken
to the penitentiary at that place, namely the Pisagua Prison,
and sent to different cells.
we arrived at Pisagua Prison, prisoners from Iquique and other
parts of northern Chile were already held there. At Pisagua,
the Navy left us in custody of the Army, which was in charge
of the prison. I must add that the common prisoners once held
at the prison as well as the few residents of the locality
of Pisagua had been evacuated, so that the entire area was
a military zone.
this prison facility, the prisoners were very crowded; the
physical space did not have the capacity for so many prisoners.
remained prisoner at this place until late October 1973, at
which time I was transferred with a group of three prisoners
back to Valparaiso. I should add that there were three physicians
from Valparaiso in this group. During the last period of our
stay in Pisagua, the doctors were placed in cells apart from
the other prisoners. We were in charge of administering medical
attention to the political prisoners, using the prison infirmary
office for that purpose.
September 29, 1973 at the lunch hour when the prisoners went
out to the prison yard to eat, the detention center military
chief Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Larrain, addressed us. He told
us that more prisoners were on the way and that no one could
escape arrest, in reference to leftists. For this reason,
he said, the facilities needed to be adapted and certain carpentry
and other work was required, and he asked for volunteers to
perform these jobs. Many prisoners volunteered because it
was a relief to be able to do any kind of work considering
the inhumane conditions in which we were kept.
Lieutenant Colonel Larrain chose six prisoners: Marcelo Guzman,
Nolberto Cañas, Michael Nash, Juan Calderon, Luis Lizardi
and Juan Jimenez. The six prisoners he named were from that
area, northern Chile, and had been arrested by the Army.
that night Commander Larrain informed us that the six prisoners
had tried to escape and consequently, they had been shot.
He added that the prisoner Michael Nash was able to get away
the farthest, which Larrain attributed to the fact, that Nash
had military training. This prisoner had been completing his
mandatory military service in Iquique at the time of his arrest.
When I shared a cell with Nash, he told me that he had been
arrested for refusing to participate in the military coup.
early October, Navy officers arrived at Pisagua and proceeded
to interrogate all prisoners who had come from Valparaiso.
The military personnel had told us to expect the arrival of
this delegation from Valparaiso who had special military training
and were capable of killing any animal. This they told us
throughout the entire period of psychological torture.
Navy delegation finally arrived and they blindfolded us and
took us in groups, out of the prison to a place a few blocks
away. I am not able to be more precise about the location
because, as I mentioned, we were all blindfolded. These men
from the Navy meted out a very harsh treatment. They threatened
us, beat us, kicked us, insulted us and did other similar
things to us. They even subjected us to electric current during
doctors among the prisoners are able to testify to this fact
not only because we personally experienced the treatment just
like the rest of the prisoners, but also because we had to
examine and tried to help people after these interrogation
October 10, 1973, Commander Larrain told me to prepare myself
because he had a special mission for me the next day and I
would have to be ready very early in the morning. On October
11, I woke up early and was taken in Jeep with Commander Larrain.
Other vehicles also departed. Up to that moment I had no idea
where we were going or anything about the special mission
Commander Larrain had talked about.
arrived at the side of the old Pisagua cemetery, an area between
the cemetery and the sea. Nearly the entire Army personnel
at Pisagua, in addition to lower officers and privates, were
all there, in formation as if it were a normal military ceremony.
The lower-ranking officers were armed with automatic weapons.
There was also a platoon of Army conscripts in formation like
a firing squad. Some were standing, while others knelt in
front of them. They were also armed with automatic rifles.
observed that the military personnel were on the side of a
ditch or an excavation that had just been dug. It was 15 meters
long by 2 meters wide and I could see six corpses covered
in sacks, placed side by side at the bottom of the ditch.
One of the officers told me that these were the bodies of
the people who had tried to escape on September 29, 1973,
according to the account I described previously.
Pisagua Prison chaplain, by the name of Murillo was also present,
and I could see that he was very disturbed.
Larrain informed me that some prisoners, who had been sentenced
to death by a War Council, were going to be executed.
Commander Larrain made a speech to the military officers,
which was addressed especially to the soldiers of the firing
squad. During all this time, the prisoners had not yet arrived.
The speech was intended to give the soldiers the strength
to commit the crime. He told them they were cleaning the country
of bad elements, making spurious reference to the prisoners
who were going to be shot.
must add that the lower ranking officers were standing perpendicular
to the firing squad soldiers. The officers were also armed,
thus representing a terrible pressure over the soldiers who
were about to fire upon the prisoners.
happened next occurred in complete silence. The prisoners
began to arrive, walking up to the place. The first three
were blindfolded and were placed in front of the firing squad,
one next to another, about 2 meters apart. With his hand,
an officer gave the signal to shoot and the platoon of 12
men fired upon the three prisoners who fell dead.
have the impression that the men who were shot did not know
what was about to take place. They did not seem to have been
told what would happen. They were all very calm.
that moment Commander Larrain told me that I had to certify
the deaths of the executed prisoners. I did so, confirming
that each was dead. Only one was still alive, and the officer
proceeded to give him the so-called "coup de grace"
with his gun.
bodies of these three persons were covered with burlap sacks.
events were repeated with two more prisoners, who were shot
under the same conditions.
must add that in the case of Humberto Lizardi, the blindfold
became loose at the moment they were firing. I mention this
fact in order to confirm my personal knowledge of these events.
The names of the persons who were shot are the following:
Juan Valencia, Humberto Lizardi, Mario Morris, Jose Cordova
and Julio Cabezas.
this time, I do not recall the name of the officer in charge
of the firing squad. I do know he was the second ranking officer
after Commander Larrain.
the execution had concluded, I was returned to the Prison,
so I did not see when they covered the ditch with dirt. I
must add, to be precise, that the ditch where the bodies were
buried, is located along the western side of the cemetery,
on the side nearest the sea. It is an unleveled area that
slopes down to the sea.
ditch was approximately 15 meters long and was located about
20 meters from the cemetery wall, facing the coast. It was
about 2 meters wide from south to north, located about 50
to 60 meters from the end of the cemetery wall, on the southern
should add that the person to whom the officer gave the coup
de grace was Juan Valencia, who I knew in Pisagua.
I knew perfectly well who he was. I must also add that I knew
Lizardi as well in Pisagua, and was perfectly able to identify
him. The same with Julio Cabezas, who I knew to be a lawyer.
Mario Morris, I should say that I knew him from Valparaiso.
I am a friend of all his family. I have no doubt that he was
in the first group of three prisoners shot.
Having read this
testimony, I certify its veracity and sign it before the Court.