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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 20:15 GMT
Pinochet charged over dissidents
Augusto Pinochet
Gen Pinochet turns 90 on Friday
Former Chilean military ruler Augusto Pinochet has been formally charged for the second time in less than 48 hours and ordered to stay under house arrest.

The latest charges centre on the disappearance of dissidents in 1975 in what was known as Operation Colombo.

More than 3,000 people were killed when he was in power from 1973 to 1990.

Gen Pinochet had been freed on bail after being charged on Wednesday with tax evasion and passport fraud over the alleged concealment of $27m abroad.

Two earlier human rights cases collapsed after Gen Pinochet - who turns 90 on Friday - was deemed too ill to face prosecution.

'Fit for trial'

In the latest case, Judge Victor Montiglio charged Gen Pinochet in connection with the kidnapping of at least three dissidents by the former military ruler's security services.

The charge is of "permanent kidnappings", meaning that the bodies of the victims, who are presumed dead, have never been found.

The judge is said to have paid a visit to Gen Pinochet at his Santiago mansion to inform him personally of the charges.

At least 119 people are alleged to have been abducted by state forces and later killed in the 1975 secret operation.

Gen Pinochet had his legal immunity stripped in this case after being found fit to stand trial in September.

News of his arrest came moments after he had been released on bail in the tax evasion and fraud case.

The charges came after investigations into secret funds being held in accounts abroad.

According to the indictment, Gen Pinochet evaded $2.4m (1.4m) in taxes between 1980 and 2004.

See demonstrations against the former Chilean ruler

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