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Last Updated: Friday, 20 May 2005, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Pinochet 'has suspected stroke'
Augusto Pinochet
Pinochet has suffered health problems in the past
Former Chilean military ruler Gen Augusto Pinochet has been treated in hospital after suffering what aides said was a suspected mild stroke.

He spent about five hours "fully conscious" in a Santiago military hospital before going home, said aides.

Gen Pinochet, 89, who has been weakened by ill-health, has experienced several suspected minor strokes in the past.

Chilean courts are considering whether to strip him of his legal immunity so he can be prosecuted for tax evasion.

"His condition is not critical," said Guillermo Garin, one of Gen Pinochet's closest aides.

Gen Pinochet, who has diabetes and a pacemaker, was at his home in Los Boldos 120km (75 miles) south-west of Santiago when he was taken ill.

He was taken to the Santiago Army Hospital by helicopter.

After leaving hospital Gen Pinochet went to stay in his Santiago home, rather than Los Boldos, reports said.

The Santiago appeals court is expected to rule next week on whether the general, who headed a military junta from 1973 to 1990, should face prosecution.

Gen Pinochet's opponents have often questioned the timing of his bouts of ill health, saying they usually coincide with imminent court appearances.

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