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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 March 2005, 16:08 GMT
Pinochet murder case blocked
General Pinochet in 2000
Gen Pinochet still faces charges in other cases
Augusto Pinochet cannot be prosecuted over the killing of his predecessor as Chile's army chief, the country's Supreme Court has ruled.

The court upheld his legal immunity in the case, blocking efforts to try him for his alleged role in the 1974 assassination of Gen Carlos Prats.

Gen Prats, a symbol of opposition to the Chilean military government, had fled to Argentina.

Gen Pinochet, 89, still faces other charges of human rights abuses.

The Supreme Court decided by 15 votes to four that the general retained his immunity in the case.

Their decision reversed a ruling by the Court of Appeal in December that he could be investigated for his alleged role in the killing of Gen Prats, who died in a car bomb attack in Buenos Aires.

However, Gen Pinochet is still under investigation in connection with Operation Condor - a conspiracy by six South American regimes in the 1970s to hunt down and kill their left-wing opponents.

He also faces tax fraud charges and a money-laundering investigation.

A fresh application to lift the general's immunity must be made for every investigation.

Has Augusto Pinochet's legal luck changed?


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