Santiago (AFP) - Chile's Supreme Court said Tuesday it has annulled a treason conviction against President Michelle Bachelet's father, who was jailed and tortured to death for opposing the country's 1973 coup.
Alberto Bachelet, a top general in the Chilean air force, was arrested in the aftermath of the military coup staged by his army colleague, the late dictator Augusto Pinochet.
A self-declared war tribunal convicted Bachelet of treason for opposing the bloody overthrow of socialist president Salvador Allende.
Bachelet, who had been the air force finance chief, died in prison in 1974 from the torture his one-time subordinates inflicted on him. He was 51.
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court annulled his conviction and those of 80 other air force officers, declaring them innocent.
The war tribunals set up in the wake of Pinochet's coup failed to "respect prisoners' rights or consider any of the precepts established by international war conventions," the court ruled.
The head of the National Human Rights Institute, Branislav Maralic, said the decision "restores the honor and dignity of people who bore the stigma of being treated as traitors for more than 40 years."
The court had last week upheld four-year prison sentences meted out to two retired officers convicted of torturing general Bachelet.
President Bachelet, his daughter, was herself arrested and tortured under Pinochet's regime in 1975.
A clandestine left-wing activist at the time, she was released after several weeks and fled into exile.
More than 3,000 people were killed or disappeared and 38,000 tortured during Pinochet's rule, which ended in 1990.