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Pinochet immunity stripped in torture case

[JURIST] A Chilean appeals court Friday stripped former dictator Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] of immunity so he can face charges involving the torture of thousands of people at Villa Grimaldi [Wikipedia backgrounder], an infamous political detention center that was run by Pinochet’s secret police between 1974 and 1977. President-elect Michelle Bachelet [BBC profile; JURIST report] and her mother were detained at Villa Grimaldi in 1975 before going into exile, but the investigation into the torture of political prisoners does not involve her detention. The appeals court voted 13-5 in favor of stripping Pinnochet’s immunity, but the judgment will likely have to be upheld by Chile's Supreme Court before the first torture charges against Pinochet can be filed. Pinochet is already under indictment for tax fraud [JURIST report] and kidnapping [JURIST report], the latter in reference to people who disappeared in police custody and are presumed dead. Many military officers and former agents of Pinochet’s secret police have been convicted of human rights crimes, but Pinochet has not yet been charged with any human rights crimes because the Supreme Court has only recently ruled that he is fit to stand trial [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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