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Doctors declare Pinochet fit to stand trial for killings

[JURIST] Doctors directed to examine former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet [BBC News profile; JURIST news archive] have declared him fit to stand trial for the first time on charges that he coordinated the killings of political opponents during the 1970s. According to a report prepared by the examining doctors and revealed by sources Wednesday, Pinochet appeared lucid and showed no signs of impaired memory, despite claims by his defense counsel that he suffers from dementia. Chile's high court stripped Pinochet of immunity in September, clearing the way for him to stand charges in the "Operation Colombo" [Wikipedia backgrounder] case if the former dictator's health permitted. The operation allegedly resulted in the deaths of 119 members of a leftist militant group that opposed Pinochet, and their bodies were sent to other Latin American countries. Pinochet was acquitted of charges [JURIST report] by the high court in connection with "Operation Condor" [Wikipedia backgrounder], a separate conspiracy among South American leaders to eliminate political opponents. Prosecutors are also pursuing embezzlement charges [JURIST report] against the fallen leader. Chile's La Nacion has local coverage [in Spanish]. AFP has more.

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