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Last Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005, 05:51 GMT
Pinochet turns 90 under detention
Augusto Pinochet
Gen Pinochet has been placed under house arrest in Santiago
Former Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet is spending his 90th birthday under house arrest after being indicted for the second time in 48 hours.

The latest charges centre on the disappearance of dissidents in 1975 in what was known as Operation Colombo.

Gen Pinochet had just been freed on bail after being charged on Wednesday with tax evasion and passport fraud.

His lawyer Pablo Rodriguez defended the ex-ruler as a man who had devoted his life to leading Chile "forward".

More than 3,000 people were killed when he was in power from 1973 to 1990.

Two earlier human rights cases collapsed after Gen Pinochet was deemed too ill to face prosecution.

The BBC's Hannah Hennessey reports from Santiago that the general had celebrated his 80th birthday surrounded by politicians, businessmen and generals.

Now he will spend his 90th birthday at home in Santiago, facing what political analysts are calling his toughest legal challenge yet, she adds.

'Fit for trial'

In the latest case, Judge Victor Montiglio charged Gen Pinochet in connection with the kidnapping of at least three dissidents by the former military ruler's security services.

The charge is of "permanent kidnappings", meaning that the bodies of the victims, who are presumed dead, have never been found.

The judge is said to have paid a visit to Gen Pinochet at his Santiago mansion to inform him personally of the charges.

At least 119 people are alleged to have been abducted by state forces and later killed in the 1975 secret operation.

Gen Pinochet had his legal immunity stripped in this case after being found fit to stand trial in September.

News of his arrest came moments after his released on bail in the tax evasion and fraud case.

The charges came after investigations into secret funds being held in accounts abroad.

According to the indictment, Gen Pinochet evaded $2.4m (1.4m) in taxes between 1980 and 2004.

See demonstrations against the former Chilean ruler

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