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Chile Supreme Court upholds Pinochet fitness to stand trial for rights abuses

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Chile [official website, in Spanish] on Monday denied the appeal of former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on human rights charges, ruling 3-2 in support of a lower appeals court decision [JURIST report] that his mild dementia, diabetes, and arthritis do not render him too ill to stand trial. The appeals process having been exhausted, Pinochet must now stand trial for his role in Operation Colombo [Wikipedia backgrounder], which allegedly resulted in the death of 119 leftist dissidents during the early years of his 1973-1990 dictatorship. Pinochet argues that the leftists were killed during combat between rival factions who opposed his regime. Pinochet has been indicted in nine separate cases related to the Operation, all of which were joined [JURIST report] earlier this month. Other charges against the 90 year-old former dictator have been thrown out by Chilean courts in the past due to his poor health, but doctors on a newly-ordered medical panel testified before the Supreme Court that Pinochet has been exaggerating his symptoms to avoid trial. Reuters has more. From Santiago, La Nacion has local coverage.

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