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Pinochet can be tried: court

SANTIAGO: A Chilean court has stripped General Augusto Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution, opening up once more the possibility of his being tried for his part in the human rights abuses that followed his military coup in 1973. The appeals court in Santiago voted by 14 to 9 to remove immunity from the man who led the military dictatorship that replaced President Salvador Allende and remained in power until 1990. Lawyers for the 88-year-old general may appeal to the Supreme Court, arguing that he is neither mentally nor physically well enough to stand trial. A medical report in 2000, after he was been sent back to Chile from custody in Britain, suggested that he suffered from a mild form of dementia. He has a pacemaker, has had three mild strokes in five years and suffers from diabetes and arthritis. Gen Pinochet is being sued in connection with the deaths of political opponents in Operation Condor, the plan by Latin American military dictatorships to stamp out opposition. He is accused of knowing what was happening, despite his later claims that the offences were committed by junior ranks. Gen Pinochet was arrested in London in 1998 after a Spanish investigating magistrate, Baltazar Garzon, requested his extradition to face charges of torturing Spanish citizens.

Guardian Newspaers Limited 2004

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