An appeals court yesterday upheld the indictment and house arrest of Gen. Augusto Pinochet on murder and kidnapping charges during his 17-year rule, rejecting an appeal to stop...
SANTIAGO, Chile An appeals court yesterday upheld the indictment and house arrest of Gen. Augusto Pinochet on murder and kidnapping charges during his 17-year rule, rejecting an appeal to stop the case because of the former dictator’s health.
The appeal filed by Pinochet’s defense “has been unanimously rejected” by the three-judge panel, Judge Juan Escobar said, prompting applause and cheers among relatives of victims of the 1973-90 regime.
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Pinochet, 89, was indicted a week ago by Judge Juan Guzmán, who charged him in nine kidnappings and one homicide during his rule. An appeal to the Supreme Court is expected.
Guzmán indicted Pinochet on a different rights case in 2001, but the charges were dismissed by the Supreme Court, which pronounced Pinochet unfit to stand trial after doctors diagnosed him with moderate dementia, resulting from several strokes he has had since 1998.
Pinochet, meanwhile, remained in the intensive-care unit of the Santiago Army Hospital, recovering from a stroke he reportedly had Saturday and undergoing a series of new tests. No date has been set for his release.
Foes of Pinochet, including lawyers for his accusers, claimed the sudden hospitalization was a ploy to avoid trial.
Pinochet also faces potential legal trouble in two other cases: the 1974 bomb killing in Argentina of his predecessor as army commander, Gen. Carlos Prats, who opposed his 1973 coup, and the disclosure that he kept up to $8 million in secret bank accounts in the United States.