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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 October, 2003, 20:55 GMT 21:55 UK
Pinochet immunity challenge fails
By Clinton Porteous
BBC, Santiago

The Supreme Court in Chile has rejected an application that General Augusto Pinochet be stripped of immunity and tried over the killing of 10 Communist Party members in 1976.

Augusto Pinochet in 2000
Pinochet is said to be suffering from dementia
The ruling is further confirmation he is highly unlikely to face court over human rights violations.

General Pinochet led a 17-year military government which killed more than 3,000 political opponents.

The Supreme Court's decision follows a ruling last year in a different case where the court ruled the general was mentally unfit to defend himself.

Health doubts

Lawyers for the Communist Party argued the decision should be reviewed and the General forced to undergo new medical tests.

They said he was mentally healthy and able to give pep talks to retired military officers.

Last month the general made an appearance for television cameras on the 30th anniversary of Chile's military coup.

But the Supreme Court backed the ruling from the Court of Appeal and said there were no grounds to take away his immunity.

Escaping justice?

As a past president he is entitled to protection.

In a previous case, known as the "caravan of death", his immunity was taken away but the trial was halted before proceedings started on medical grounds.

This time lawyers for the Communist Party tried a different angle but failed at the first hurdle.

It now appears more certain than ever that the 87-year-old will live out his final days in peace.


SEE ALSO:
Pinochet trial move blocked
27 Aug 03  |  Americas
Pinochet generals admit exhumations
03 Jul 03  |  Americas
Chile drops Pinochet trial
01 Jul 02  |  Americas
Country profile: Chile
05 Jun 03  |  Country profiles
Special report: The Pinochet file
09 Jul 01  |  The Pinochet file


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