Michael Withey

International Attorney Almudena Bernabeu and the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), a public interest/human rights project based in San Francisco received the prestigious Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute for Policy Studies, which recognizes individuals and groups in the United States and elsewhere in the Americas most dedicated to the struggle for human rights.

The Institute for Policy Studies (see http://www.ips-dc.org) and Phyllis Bennis, its Director for New Internationalism, have been strong supporters of the Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes. See www.withey.wpengine.com.

CJA’s Almudena Bernabeu with a portrait of Orlando Letelier.

Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) presented Bernabeu with the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on October 6. CJA and Bernabeu were recognized for the successful prosecutions of several of the worst Latin American perpetrators of crimes against humanity.

The award commemorates the lives of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt, who were killed by a car bomb planted by agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in Washington DC in September 1976. Letelier, a former defense minister under President Salvadore Allende, was tortured and incarcerated after the 1973 Pinochet coup, and had fled to the U.S. where he worked tirelessly to raise awareness of human rights abuses being committed by the Pinochet regime, and change U.S. foreign policy towards Chile. New documents just declassified by the Obama administration reveal that Pinochet directly ordered the murders and their cover-up. See related blog post. CJA continues to work for accountability for crimes committed during the Pinochet regime through CJA’s case Jara v. Barrientos.

Read more about CJA’s work and the award ceremony in the Washington Post.