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Thursday, 9 March, 2000, 09:50 GMT
Pinochet awarded 'Oscar'
oscar
An activist wearing a mask receives the 'Oscar'
The former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, has been awarded a symbolic Oscar by protesters in Santiago.

The protesters say he acted sick in order to avoid facing trial in Spain for alleged human rights violations.

The pinochet File
In a parody staged before the armed forces headquarters, members of a socialist youth group handed over a fake Oscar statuette to a human rights activist wearing a general Pinochet mask and dressed in a striped convict's suit.

The demonstrators said general Pinochet deserved the Oscar for his role as "the English Patient" during his months under house arrest in Britain.

pinochet
General Pinochet gave no indication of poor health when he arrived in Chile
"Pinochet wins the Oscar as best actor. And best director goes to the Armed Forces," said Genaro Cuadras, secretary general of the Chilean socialist youth movement.

The demonstration was the latest in a series of protests held since General Pinochet returned to Chile after being released from the UK on the grounds that he was unfit to be extradited to stand trial in Spain.

Hero's welcome

The former dictator has been staying in his mansion outside Santiago, after arriving home on Friday from Britain, where he spent almost a year and a half under house arrest.

He returned home to a hero's welcome from Chile's military after Britain made its ruling.

At the airport he smiled and waved to crowds and quickly left his wheel chair to walk among well-wishers - outraging some Chileans.

Then Chilean Government and human rights groups criticised the country's military for giving the former dictator a warm welcome and for the show of force to protect him.

The retired general's son, Marco Antonio Pinochet, said on Wednesday that his father was suffering and his apparent good health on arriving home was due to "a moment of emotion".

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