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My day in court 2

I didn’t get to see my accuser. I went to court yesterday with my witnesses and my lawyer, accompanied by friends, attorneys, representatives of the Journalists Association, union leaders, torture victims and media, all ready to face an alleged human rights abuser who is accusing me of slander for having revealed his name.

My accuser is Edwin Dimter, a former army officer who was known as the “Prince,” a brutal repressor at the Chile Stadium when it was used to hold political prisoners after the September 1973 military coup.

But nothing happened. To our surprise, the trial had been rescheduled for January, and the court, in an act of supreme negligence, had failed to notify either of the parties involved.

What had happened was that one of Dimter's witnesses, his former boss at the Superintendent of Pensions where he worked at the time of my article, couldn't make it that day. The law here allows the president on down to regional governors and including superintendents to testify in a place other than the court, and at a time they are available. So the court had rescheduled the entire trial for Jan. 14 and didn't tell anyone about it.

Needless to say, we were all very uspet. There was a small rebellion in the court's hallway, but it was a losing battle.

Dimter's attorneys had also arrived, and were equally angry. The lawyers from both sides went in to negotiate with the judge. They even offered to withdraw the superintendent as their witness, but the judge wouldn’t change his mind, even though the entire problem was caused by the negligence of his staff. A higher ruling had already set the new date, and besides, there wasn't a chamber or a judge available for us anymore.

So I'm still waiting to see my accuser.