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Tuesday, 21 November, 2000, 08:56 GMT
Chilean agent convicted over Prats' killing
The presidential palace during the coup
General Prats fled Chile after the 1973 coup
An Argentine court has sentenced a former Chilean secret service agent to life in prison in connection with the assassination of Chile's former army chief, General Carlos Prats, and his wife in Buenos Aires in 1974.

Eduardo Arancibia Clavel was found guilty of participating directly in the killing while he was a member of Chile's secret police, the Dina.

Mr Arancibia insists he is innocent and his lawyers say they will appeal.

General Pinochet and President Allende
Pinochet (left) shortly before the coup that ousted Allende (right)
Carlos Prats and his wife, Sofia Cuthbert, died in a car bomb explosion. They had fled to Argentina after General Augusto Pinochet took power in a military coup in 1973.

The investigation into Mr Prats' death has named General Pinochet as one of the main suspects in the case.

Last month, the Argentine authorities requested General Pinochet's extradition from Chile in connection with the killing.

While a Chilean judge considers the request, the Supreme Court in Santiago has barred the former military ruler from leaving Chile and has placed him under court supervision.

Pinochet mentioned

Carlos Prats was the commander of the Chilean army during the socialist government of President Salvador Allende.

He was considered by many Chileans the last symbol of a constitutional army.

He was succeeded by General Pinochet in August 1973, less than a month before he lead the coup.

After a series of death threats, General Prats fled to Buenos Aires.

At the time of his murder in September 1974, General Prats was emerging as an important voice calling for a swift return to democratic rule in Chile.

So far Enrique Arancibia is the only person to have been sentenced for the assassination.

But during the judicial hearings - in which more than 50 witnesses testified - the name of General Pinochet appeared frequently, prompting General Prats' daughters to request his extradition.

Correspondents say it is unlikely that Chile will approve General Pinochet's extradition to Argentina.

But he is already facing a possible trial at home over possible human rights abuses committed during his 17-year rule.

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23 Mar 00 | Americas
US reopens Pinochet investigation
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