The Roman Catholic Church was seeking pardons for people who committed crimes during military rule as members of the armed forces.
The Chilean Bishops Conference had pleaded with Mr. Pinera to award clemency to inmates who had already served long prison sentences and had shown repentance. Pinera rejects the idea of pardons for serious offenses such as murder and crimes against humanity. More than 3000 civilians were killed in Chile by the military between 1973 and 1990 under the rule of Augusto Pinochet.
Mr. Piinera explained his rejection by saying: “I have reached the conclusion that it would not be prudent or convenient in the current circumstances to promote a new law of general pardon.
“These proposals continue to create tensions and divisions between Chileans, and have reopened old wounds and the rancor’s of the past”.
Mr. Pinera, Chiles first conservative president since the end of military rule in 1990 has been in office since March.