Two jailed for 1973 Anglo-Chilean priest disappearance

Chile, Valparaiso map The left-wing priest used to work with Chile's poor in Valparaiso

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A Chilean court has found two ex-navy officers guilty of the abduction of Anglo-Chilean priest Michael Woodward.

The left-wing priest disappeared shortly after the coup that brought Gen Augusto Pinochet to power in 1973 and his body has never been found.

Fr Woodward, born in Chile and raised in the UK, is thought to have been kidnapped, tortured and killed.

The court in Valparaiso gave both men three-year sentences, but said they could serve them under house arrest.

The convictions of Jose Manuel Garcia Yeres and Hector Palomino Lopez fell far short of what prosecutors were seeking, reports the BBC's Gideon Long in Chile.

Another six former naval officers were acquitted by the court.

The state was also sentenced to pay reparations of more than $100,000 (£65,000) to the victim's family, who have been seeking justice for 40 years.

Michael Woodward, a Roman Catholic priest, worked with the poor in the port city of Valparaiso.

He was arrested days after the military coup and tortured before being taken on board the ship, Esmeralda, where he was killed, investigators say.

His body is thought to have been taken to the Naval Hospital, but the remains were never found.

The episode became one of the most emblematic of the Pinochet-era human rights cases, our correspondent says.

Correction 27 May 2013: An earlier version of the story mistakenly gave the figure of the reparations the state was ordered to pay as more than $100m. The correct figure is more than $100,000.

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