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Last Updated: Friday, 14 January, 2005, 04:31 GMT
Chile's Pinochet released on bail
Gen Augusto Pinochet
Gen Pinochet ruled Chile from 1973 until 1990
Former Chilean military ruler Augusto Pinochet is free from house arrest after his friends rallied to pay the $3,500 (1,868) bail, say his lawyers.

Judge Juan Guzman, investigating Gen Pinochet for alleged human rights abuses, agreed bail could be granted.

Gen Pinochet's lawyers had said he would find it hard to raise the bail money, but he managed within a week with the help of friends.

The former ruler has been indicted on charges of kidnapping and murder.

"With contributions from several people, we have been able to gather the [bail] money," said Gen Pinochet's lawyer Fernando Rabat after delivering the funds to the Santiago Court of Appeals.

The move means Gen Pinochet is now free to leave his country residence in Los Boldos in central Chile, where he has been under house arrest for several days.
PINOCHET TRIAL TIMELINE
October 1998: Police in UK arrest Pinochet on Spanish warrant; long legal battle over fitness for trial
March 2000: Deemed unfit for trial, returns home. Days later effort begins to try him in Chile
August 2000: Supreme Court strips his immunity. Later declared fit to stand trial
July 2001: Charges suspended and later dropped on grounds of health
May 2004: Court strips Pinochet of immunity from prosecution over fresh charges
Dec 2004: Chilean judge indicts Pinochet
Jan 2005: Court backs Pinochet murder trial, saying he is fit to stand trial

It was not known whether the 89-year-old planned to go elsewhere.

Meanwhile another judge, Sergio Munoz, has asked international banks to help his inquiry into how millions of dollars reached the general's bank accounts in the US.

Gen Pinochet has never been put on trial for human rights violations under his 1973-90 rule, despite several high-profile cases against him.

He now faces charges relating to the murder of one Chilean and the disappearance of nine others.

Last month, Judge Guzman declared Gen Pinochet mentally fit to stand trial, ordering him to be detained at his home.

The general Gen was released from hospital shortly last month, after what military doctors said was a stroke.




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