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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

BBC NEWS | Americas | Court strips Pinochet of immunity

BBC NEWS | Americas | Court strips Pinochet of immunity Court strips Pinochet of immunity
Chile's former military ruler, Augusto Pinochet, has been stripped of his immunity from prosecution over tax fraud charges.

The ruling, by Chile's Supreme Court, is in connection with an investigation into bank accounts held by General Pinochet overseas.

The charges include tax evasion, filing a false tax return and using false passports to open accounts abroad.

The Supreme Court upheld a ruling by the Santiago Court of Appeals.

In September, Gen Pinochet, who is 89 years old, was stripped of his immunity from prosecution in relation to the disappearance of dozens of dissidents during "Operation Colombo" in 1973.

He is currently undergoing new medical tests to determine whether he can stand trial for human rights abuses in relation to this case.

Efforts to try Gen Pinochet on human rights charges have so far failed.

In previous cases, the Supreme Court has lifted Gen Pinochet's immunity from prosecution but later found him unfit to stand trial on medical grounds.

More than 3,000 people died in political violence during his 1973-1990 regime, an official inquiry has concluded.
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