The rightist managing editor of a pro-government news magazine was attacked by two armed men after this week's issue of his magazine appeared with an article linking the Chilean security police (DINA) to the kidnaping and torture of a 16-year-old boy.
A strongly worded editorial today in the authoritative daily, El Mercurio, although not mentioning DINA directly, said the attack was "predumably a reprisal for the article."
The attack followed an unusual number of press stories in recent weeks on DINA activities reflecting and increasingly public desire among civilian supporters of the military regime for a curb on DINA's nearly absolute powers.
El Mercurio said the attack on the editor was one of several recent "operations of intimidation" by "spontaneous . . . groups or individuals who believe they are carrying out political or patriotic missions."
Editor Jaime Martinez of the weekly Que Pasa was roughed up but not injured in the assault by two men waiting in his car as he left work Thursday. A government spokesman condemned the attack and said a "maximum effort" would be made to catch the assailants.
In recent week, several pro-government publications, including the last three issues of Que Pasa, have printed detailed accounts of DINA's repressive activities and questioned official government and explanations.
In the case of the kidnapped boy, DINA suffered a public setback when a military court prosecutor last week ordered the release of three men whom DINA had accused of the kidnaping and other terrorist activities. Martinez' magazine revealed this week that the boy, Carlos Veloso, a labor leader's son had testified that his kidnapers were agents of the security police.
Alleged violations of human rights by DINA have been the focus of reports by the United Nations Human Rights Commission an dother international bodies, but until recently they have been virtually ignored by Chilean newspapers and magazines, all but one of which are controlled by the government or owned by government supporters.
The stories on DINA, although carefully worded to avoid direct criticism of the government itself, show the mounting concern of civilian supporters about Chile's four-year state of siege and the unlimited arrest powers and freedom from court scrutiny the government has conferred on DINA.
DINA, which has an estimated 20,000 agents and paid informants, began to operate several months after the September, 1973 military coup that overthrew the government of President Salvador Allende. DINA was made responsible only to Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the new president.
El Mercurio and Que Pasa have called for the end of the state of siege and the return to normal judical practices. El Mercurio, whose editorials are considered to reflect the views of important civilian backers of the military government, said the attack on Martinez prompted concern that "control of the press . . . could come to be exercised by means fo intimidation."
Que Pasa said Carlos Veloso was kidnaped and tortured by men he later identified as DINA agents. It said he was forced by the same agents to appear at a press conference and name three of his neighbors as the kidnapers.