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Pinochet stripped of immunity against additional tax fraud charges

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Chile [official website, in Spanish] on Friday stripped former dictator Augusto Pinochet [JURIST news archive] of immunity from additional tax fraud charges, allowing prosecutors to continue with a $27 million fraud case [JURIST report] stemming from an investigation of Pinochet's secret offshore back accounts that was established by the former dictator under false names. Chilean legal procedure requires prosecutors to challenge a defendant's immunity claims charge-by-charge, and the Supreme Court has already stripped Pinochet of immunity [JURIST report] in connection with several other tax evasion charges arising from the same investigation.

Pinochet's lawyers have argued he is unfit to stand trial because of dementia and other ailments, but the Supreme Court of Chile last year ruled [JURIST report] that Pinochet was fit to stand trial on separate human rights charges for the disappearance of 29 leftists [JURIST report] under his regime, and for the kidnapping of six dissidents [JURIST report] as part of Operation Colombo [Wikipedia backgrounder]. Last week, a Chilean appeals court ruled Pinochet fit to stand trial [JURIST report] in a case involving the disappearance of Antonio Llido, a Spanish priest who was a member of a socialist group opposing Pinochet's regime. Reuters has more.

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