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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 February 2006, 22:38 GMT
Court dismisses Pinochet appeal
General Augusto Pinochet
General Augusto Pinochet faces a number of different trials

A Chilean appeals court has upheld the indictment of General Augusto Pinochet over the disappearance of three dissidents during his military rule.

The three judges unanimously rejected an appeal by the defence team that he was physically unfit to stand trial.

The case may now go to the supreme court, which last week threw out similar health claims on other charges.

The cases concern Operation Colombo, in which opponents of the Pinochet regime were allegedly hunted down and killed.

During the 1975 operation, court papers say, 119 left-wing political opponents disappeared and are believed to have been killed, though their bodies have never been found.

Gen Pinochet's military government claimed at the time that the victims died in clashes between rival armed dissident groups.

But the panel of judges on Wednesday also ruled that the case against the general should proceed, as security agents could not have carried out arrests and killings without his approval.

Gen Pinochet, 90, had his legal immunity stripped in the Operation Colombo case after being found fit to stand trial in September, and has been put under house arrest.

The general and several family members also face separate charges in connection with tax evasion, fraud, and undisclosed foreign bank accounts.

On Monday a court granted bail to his eldest daughter on tax and fraud charges.


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