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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 02:16 GMT
Army discharges Pinochet grandson
Mourners file past Gen Pinochet's coffin in Santiago
Gen Pinochet's death has generated conflicting emotions in Chile
The grandson of the former military ruler of Chile, General Augusto Pinochet - who died on Sunday - has been discharged from the Chilean army.

Captain Augusto Pinochet Molina had given an unauthorised speech at his grandfather's funeral on Tuesday.

He praised the general as a great world leader who saved Chile from Marxism.

A Pinochet family spokesman has defended the speech, saying that the captain had acted as a grandson and a man rather than as a military officer.

Gen Pinochet died on Sunday, aged 91. Thousands died or disappeared during his 17-year-rule, and he was accused of human rights abuses.

Despite his human rights record, many Chileans revered Gen Pinochet, believing he saved the country from Marxist rule and put Chile onto a path of strong economic growth.

'Funeral interrupted'

The commander of the Chilean army, Gen Oscar Izurieta, said Captain Pinochet had committed a grave error, leaving no choice but to discharge him.

This is a grave error and we are certain that the army will know what to do
President Michelle Bachelet

However, the family maintained that Captain Pinochet had already been considering leaving the army because he had felt uncomfortable.

Some 5,000 fervent supporters of Augusto Pinochet attended the funeral of the former Chilean leader at a military college in Santiago.

The funeral was interrupted at one point by Capt Pinochet, who defended his grandfather.

"He was a man who defeated at the height of the Cold War the Marxist model, which tried to impose its totalitarian model not by vote, but more directly by force of arms," the officer said.

His speech also accused the judges who had brought criminal charges against General Pinochet of doing so to further their personal interests and not for the betterment of the country.

Chilean Defence Minister Vivianne Blanlot, who attended the funeral, said the remarks were "an insult to the state".

This was echoed by President Bachelet on Wednesday.

"This is a grave error and we are certain that the army will know what to do," she said, before Captain Pinochet's dismissal was announced.

Gen Pinochet's body was cremated late on Tuesday and his ashes will be given to his family.

Correspondents say they did not want a grave or memorial to become a focal point for protest.

Mourners pay their last respects to Gen Pinochet

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