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Last Updated: Monday, 11 December 2006, 11:26 GMT
Timeline: The Pinochet legal saga
Below is a guide to the key developments in the legal battle to prosecute Chile's Gen Augusto Pinochet for human rights abuses during his 1973-1990 military rule and for tax evasion.

October 2006

(30 October)
Pinochet is placed under house arrest in connection with kidnap, homicide and torture at the Villa Grimaldi detention centre in Santiago run by his secret police.

August 2006

(19 August)
Chile's Supreme Court rules that Gen Pinochet can be prosecuted on charges of misusing public funds. Prosecutors say their inquiry relates to millions of dollars stored in foreign bank accounts.

April 2006

(7 April)
The Santiago appeals court dismisses two charges against Gen Pinochet relating to secret offshore bank accounts. But it ruled that charges of falsifying passports and tax evasion should stand.

February 2006

(1 February)
An appeals court turns down a defence plea that Gen Pinochet is physically unfit to stand trial over the disappearance of three leftists during his military rule.

January 2006

(28 January)
The eldest daughter of Gen Pinochet is charged after arriving back in Chile to face tax evasion charges. Lucia Pinochet, 60, had failed in her bid to win political asylum in the United States.

January 2006

(9 January)
Gen Pinochet is granted bail after seven week's house arrest for charges relating to the disappearance and presumed death of three leftists.

November 2005

(24 November)
Just hours after being released on bail in another case, Gen Augusto is charged and placed under house arrest over the disappearance of dissidents in 1975.

(23 November)
Gen Pinochet is placed under house arrest and charged with tax evasion over alleged secret bank accounts held abroad.

July 2005

(6 July)
Court strips Gen Augusto Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution over his involvement in the abduction and killing of political prisoners in what was known as Operation Colombo.

June 2005

(7 June)
Gen Pinochet may stand trial for tax evasion but not for human rights abuses, a Chilean court rules.

May 2005

(20 May)
Gen Pinochet suffers another mild stroke, say aides.

March 2005

(24 March)
The Supreme Court rules Gen Pinochet cannot be tried over the 1974 assassination of his predecessor as Chile's army chief, Gen Carlos Prats, in a reversal of a December 2004 ruling.

(16 March)
A US Senate investigation finds Gen Pinochet hid more than $13m in dozens of secret bank accounts, sparking anger among his opponents at home and discomfiting even supporters.

January 2005

(14 January)
Augusto Pinochet is freed from house arrest after his friends rallied to pay the $3,500 bail.

(4 January)
Chile's Supreme Court rules Augusto Pinochet is fit to stand trial on murder and kidnapping charges.

December 2004

(13 December)
Augusto Pinochet is placed under house arrest on human rights charges.

(2 December)
A Chilean court strips Augusto Pinochet of his immunity over the murder of his predecessor as army chief.

November 2004

(25 November)
Augusto Pinochet marks his 89th birthday amid news that a judge has frozen more of his assets.

(10 November)
The first ever major report on torture and detention, based on interviews with 35,000 former prisoners, is presented to the Chilean president.

September 2004

(25 September)
Judge Juan Guzman questions Augusto Pinochet over the killings of political dissidents by Latin American governments in the 1970s and 1980s.

August 2004

(26 August)
Chile's Supreme Court confirms a ruling stripping Augusto Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution.

May 2004

(28 May)
A Chilean court strips former military leader Augusto Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution, in a ruling on the 1970s and 1980s crackdown by Latin American military governments on dissidents.

July 2002

(1 July 2002)
Chile's Supreme Court upholds the ruling that found him mentally unfit to stand trial for human rights crimes during his 17-year rule.

July 2001

Pinochet charges suspended (9 July)
A Chilean court suspends charges against General Pinochet, ruling that he is unfit to stand trial, and legal experts say he is unlikely to stand trial on any of the charges he faces in Chile.

March 2001

Pinochet 'must face trial' (8 March)
The Santiago Court of Appeals rules that General Pinochet should stand trial, but only on charges of covering up murder and kidnappings, not of planning the crimes.

February 2001

Chile court hears Pinochet appeal (13 February)
General Pinochet appeals to the Santiago Court of Appeals to overturn his house arrest and stop legal proceedings against him. His lawyers argue that he is too ill to stand trial and that evidence against him does not prove his guilt.

Document 'destroys' Pinochet defence (8 February)
A Chilean newspaper publishes what it claims are documents that show General Pinochet was aware of human rights abuses under his regime. Chilean authorities say they will investigate the authenticity of the documents.

January 2001

Pinochet arrest ordered (30 January)
Judge Juan Guzman reissues an order for the arrest of General Pinochet, who is placed under house arrest.

Judge questions Pinochet (16 January)
Judge Guzman questions General Pinochet for two hours. The interrogation centres on the former military ruler's involvement with the Caravan of Death.

Pinochet 'fit enough' for trial (16 January)
Doctors examine General Pinochet at his home to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial and conclude that he is mentally capable of undergoing interrogation.

December 2000

Army demands say in Pinochet case (6 December)
The Chilean army plans to convene the National Security Council - which gives them a political say during moments of national crisis - to discuss a judge's order for the arrest of former military leader General Pinochet.

Pinochet charged with kidnapping (1 December)
A judge in Chile formally charges General Pinochet with kidnapping during his 1973-1990 dictatorship.

November 2000

Court orders more tests for Pinochet (2 November)
A court orders that General Pinochet should undergo psychological and neurological tests before appearing in court.

August 2000

Chile president backs Pinochet verdict (9 August)
Chile's President Ricardo Lagos urges the country to respect the decision of the Supreme Court to end General Pinochet's immunity from prosecution.

Pinochet loses court battle (2 August)
Supreme Court strips General Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution.

July 2000

Judges set to decide Pinochet's fate (25 July)
Chile's Supreme Court begins its deliberations on whether General Pinochet should stand trial for alleged human rights abuses.

Lawyers plead for Pinochet trial (21 July)
Human rights lawyers urge Chile's Supreme Court to strip General Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution.

Pinochet 'innocent' of death squad crimes (20 July)
Lawyers for General Pinochet argue that he was not legally responsible for the actions of an army squad after the coup that brought him to power.

April - June 2000

New lead into Chile murder (30 June)
Human rights activists say the release of US papers on the coup in Chile offer a new lead into the killing of American journalist Charles Horman.

Soldier confirms Chile stadium killings (27 June)
A former army officer in Chile admits that he saw prisoners taken off for execution at a stadium during General Pinochet's rule.

Talks set to ease Pinochet rift (20 June)
Chile and Spain hold talks aimed at restoring ties damaged by the arrest of General Pinochet.

Pinochet appeal begins (9 June)
Pinochet lawyers appeal against a court ruling that strips the former military ruler of his immunity from prosecution.

Spain hails Pinochet decision (6 June)
A Chilean court strips Pinochet of immunity from prosecution as a senator-for-life - a position he created for himself when he stood down in 1990.

Pinochet hearings continue (28 April)
Lawyers who want General Pinochet to be prosecuted put the case against him in court.

January - March 2000

Chile offers Pinochet new immunity (25 March)
The Chilean Congress approves a measure designed to encourage General Pinochet to leave active politics.

Pinochet opponent takes power (11 March)
Socialist Ricardo Lagos, who won January's election, succeeds Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei and becomes the third democratically-elected president since General Pinochet stepped down in 1990.

Pinochet awarded 'Oscar' (9 March)
General Pinochet is awarded a symbolic Oscar by protesters who say he feigned sickness to avoid trial.

Pressure grows on Pinochet (8 March)
State prosecutors join human rights lawyers in bringing legal action against the former Chilean military leader.

Pinochet wins legal costs (7 March)
General Pinochet is awarded legal costs of up to $800,000, to be paid for by the UK taxpayer.

Pinochet faces 'death caravan' charges (7 March)
A Chilean judge begins moves to strip General Pinochet of his parliamentary immunity.

Stark choice for Pinochet (5 March)
Chile's Foreign Minister, Juan Gabriel Valdes says "General Augusto Pinochet must either be prepared to face trial in Chile or else be declared insane."

Pinochet arrives in Chile (3 March)
Chile's military leaders welcome General Pinochet in Santiago, a day after he was freed from 17-month house arrest in the UK.

Pinochet set free (02 March)
UK Home Secretary Jack Straw decides General Pinochet will not be extradited on torture charges and is free to leave Britain.

Pinochet report challenged (22 February)
France, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain lodge last-minute challenges to the medical report which declares the general unfit to stand trial.

Pinochet 'brain damaged' (16 February)
Spanish newspapers report what they say are details from the confidential medical report on General Pinochet.

Pinochet opponents win minor victory (8 February)
Opponents of General Pinochet gain ground in their legal battle to ensure he stands trial.

Belgium begins Pinochet challenge (25 January)
Belgium announces is to go to the International Court of Justice to challenge Mr Straw's decision on General Pinochet.

Straw pressured over Pinochet report (21 January)
The home secretary faces mounting criticism for keeping secret General Pinochet's medical reports.

Anger over Pinochet decision (12 January)
Following results of the medical tests, Home Secretary Straw says he is "minded" to release General Pinochet.

Pinochet completes health check (5 January)
A team of medical experts carry out tests on the general at a hospital in north London.

October - December 1999

Pinochet offered medical tests (5 November)
The Home Office asks General Pinochet to undergo medical tests after his third stroke raises concerns he is unfit for extradition.

Way cleared for extradition (8 October)
A UK court rules that General Pinochet can be extradited to Spain to stand trial for torture and human rights charges.

Pinochet excused court after strokes (6 October)
General Pinochet is excused from appearing at a London hearing in his fight against extradition after a court hears he has recently suffered two minor strokes.

April - September 1999

Chile to fight Pinochet extradition (28 September)
Chile says it will bring Spain before the United Nations' top court to contest their request for the extradition of General Pinochet from the UK.

Pinochet ally in murder trial (15 September)
A judge in Chile orders the intelligence service chief during the rule of General Pinochet to stand trial for murder.

Pinochet: 'I'm a political prisoner' (18 July)
General Pinochet says he regards himself as a political prisoner in Britain and strongly denies any direct role in human rights abuses.

Straw blocks freedom for Pinochet (15 April)
Home Secretary Straw rules that General Pinochet cannot go free, and allows Spain permission to go ahead with an extradition request.

January - March 1999

Straw considers Pinochet case (24 March)
Mr Straw considers the latest legal complexities entangling Spanish attempts to extradite General Pinochet from Britain to face torture charges.

Mixed emotions over Pinochet ruling (24 March)
Opponents and supporters of General Pinochet cautiously welcome the Law Lords' ruling.

Pinochet loses Lords case (24 March)
General Pinochet loses his appeal for immunity from prosecution in a historic second ruling by the UK's highest court, but the Law Lords reduce the number of charges against him, and ask Home Secretary Straw to reconsider the case.

Pinochet's moment of truth (24 March)
General Pinochet waits to learn if the UK's highest court is to grant him immunity from prosecution.

Judges rerun Pinochet hearing (18 January)
Lawyers for General Pinochet make an unprecedented second appearance before the UK's highest court in a renewed attempt to block his extradition to Spain.

Pinochet 'tortures not crimes against humanity' (27 January)
General Pinochet's defence team argue that he cannot be accused of crimes against humanity because the human rights abuses that allegedly occurred during his regime did not happen in a time of war - and that the notion of crimes against humanity implies wartime activity.

I'll die in Britain, predicts Pinochet (17 January)
General Pinochet reportedly tells his family he is resigned to dying in the UK if necessary.

October 1998 - December 1998

Pinochet gets new hearing (17 December)
The UK Law Lords rule that General Pinochet can have a fresh hearing into whether he is immune from prosecution, setting aside an earlier Law Lords ruling.

Pinochet to challenge Straw decision (14 December)
Lawyers acting for General Pinochet announce plans to challenge the UK home secretary's decision authorising the extradition process.

Pinochet's letter to Chile (12 December)
A letter is released from General Pinochet to the Chilean people which he describes as his "political testament".

Chile cuts contacts with UK (12 December)
The Chilean Government announces a series of measures taken following the UK's decision not to send General Pinochet back to Chile.

Defiant Pinochet blasts 'Spanish lies' (11 December)
General Pinochet makes a brief appearance in court, during which he insists that no court other than a Chilean one has the right to try him.

Straw gives go-ahead for extradition bid (9 December)
Mr Straw rejects appeals by General Pinochet's lawyers and allows the extradition case to go ahead.

Lords rule against Pinochet (25 November)
The Law Lords rule that General Pinochet can face an attempt to extradite him to Spain, dismissing an earlier ruling by the High Court that as a former head of state he is immune from prosecution.

Defiant Pinochet breaks his silence (8 November)
In his first public statement since his arrest, General Pinochet vows to fight extradition attempts "with all my spirit". Statement in full (8 November)

Pinochet bailed (30 October)
General Pinochet is bailed at London's High Court while the House of Lords decides if he has immunity from prosecution.

Pinochet arrest ruled unlawful (28 October)
General Pinochet succeeds in a legal challenge against his arrest and detention in the UK at the High Court in London, arguing that his arrest was unlawful.

Chileans react with disbelief (18 October)
In Chile, news of the arrest is greeted with disbelief, and a mixture of anger and delight.

Pinochet arrested (17 October)
General Pinochet is arrested in London on a warrant from Spain requesting his extradition on murder charges.






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