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pinochet is going to trial!


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Pinochet indicted in Chile

Chilean torture was policy, Lagos says

Chilean court slaps down notion of amnesty

Santiago, Chile — Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was indicted Monday for the kidnapping of nine dissidents and the killing of one of them during his 1973-90 regime.

The general was placed under house arrest.

Judge Juan Guzman made the announcement nearly three months after questioning the 89-year-old former ruler and having him examined by doctors to determine whether he can stand trial.

Judge Guzman said he made the decision to try Gen. Pinochet after carefully reviewing an interview he gave to a Spanish language television station in Miami.

He said he is convinced Gen. Pinochet is healthy enough to stand trial.

The trial of Gen. Pinochet is part of Judge Guzman's investigation of the so-called "Operation Condor," a collaborative plan by the dictatorships that ruled several South American nations in the 1970s and '80s to suppress dissidence.

"This a historic decision that must be celebrated by all democrats," said Viviana Diaz, member of an organization of dissidents who disappeared under Gen. Pinochet. "This is great news for all those Chileans who do not accept impunity in the violations of human rights."

Gen. Pinochet's defence attorneys announced they will appeal the indictment before the Santiago Court of Appeals and, if necessary, to the Supreme Court.

"This a tremendous abuse against the most basic human rights of a person," said he chief defence lawyer, Pablo Rodriguez. "It is a known fact that judge Guzman has persecuted General Pinochet for a long time."

It's the second time Gen. Pinochet has faced trial for the abuses during his long reign. He was indicted in 2001 for the killings by the Caravan of Death, a military patrol that toured the country a few weeks after the 1973 coup, leaving 75 political prisoners killed.

Eventually, however, the Supreme Court ruled he was physically and mentally unfit to stand trial — a condition Gen. Pinochet's lawyers argue not only still exists but has worsened.

The former dictator has been diagnosed a mild case of dementia. He also has diabetes and uses a pacemaker. But Judge Guzman said reports he received from three doctors that examined Gen. Pinochet on his orders convinced him that the retired general can stand trial.

Judge Guzman also said that Gen. Pinochet's answers to a Miami TV interviewer indicated he was mentally alert.

Earlier this month, an appeals court stripped Gen. Pinochet of immunity from prosecution for a 1974 car bombing that killed an exiled Chilean general and the man's wife.

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