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Chile Court Strips Legal Immunity from Pinochet
VOA News
28 May 2004, 14:28 UTC

A Chilean court has withdrawn legal immunity from former military dictator Augusto Pinochet, which could lead to a human rights trial against him.

The Santiago appeals court Friday voted 14-to-9 in favor of the move.

Chile's Communist Party wants General Pinochet to be tried for the disappearance and possible deaths of at least nine party leaders arrested during his 1973 to 1990 dictatorship.

The 88-year-old Pinochet has avoided standing trial for his alleged crimes on the grounds he is mentally and physically unfit to do so. He suffers from a mild case of dementia and has had several minor strokes.

The former dictator seized power in a 1973 coup which toppled Marxist President Salvador Allende. During the 17-year Pinochet era, an estimated three thousand people died or disappeared without explanation.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

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