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The BBC's James Reynolds reports
"There were cheers from Pinochet supporters"
 real 28k

Thursday, 2 March, 2000, 18:26 GMT
Pinochet 'harmed' Chile's image
Pinochet demonstrator
Pinochet faces further pressure at home
A senior Chilean Government minister has said the Pinochet saga has tarnished the country's image abroad - and he blamed the general for the damage.

"This is an unfortunate issue for Chile's image abroad," Foreign Minister Juan Gabriel Valdes said.


The main responsibility for this situation is with Augusto Pinochet

Juan Gabriel Valdes, Foreign Minister
"The one who is mainly responsible for this situation has maintained a permanent attitude of scorn towards international public opinion and those who criticise human rights violations in Chile," he said.

"The main responsibility for this situation is with Augusto Pinochet."

The pinochet File
As the general flew home, relatives of those who disappeared during his dictatorship said they would continue their efforts to ensure that he was put on trial in Chile.

"We are going to demand justice," Viviana Diaz, president of the protest group Families of the Detained-Disappeared, said.

"He is going to be put on trial in Chile.

"He comes condemned by the world, thanks to the Spanish and British justice systems. We thank them."


His privileges can be withdrawn and he can be put on trial like anybody else in Chile

Andres Zaldivar, Senate President
Chilean Judge Guzman Tapia is preparing legal proceedings which could lead to General Pinochet's trial for atrocities committed under his rule.

Before the general can stand before a judge, he must be stripped of his immunity as senator for life.

Senate President Andres Zaldivar said on Thursday that that could happen.

"His privileges can be withdrawn and [he can be] put on trial like anybody else in Chile," he said.

But any efforts to put General Pinochet on trial may face strong opposition.

Pinochet supporters were elated by news of his release.

"We're very happy," General Luis Cortes Villa, the director of the Pinochet Foundation, said amid cheering crowds.

"Justice has been done," he added.

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See also:

01 Mar 00 |  Americas
Pinochet returning to new Chile
01 Mar 00 |  UK
D-day for Pinochet
12 Jan 00 |  The Pinochet file
The Pinochet case: Timeline
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