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Pinochet indicted for 'Caravan of Death' killings of Allende bodyguards

[JURIST] Chilean Judge Victor Montiglio indicted former dictator Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] Monday and placed him under house arrest in connection with the firing-squad deaths of two of former President Salvador Allende's bodyguards during the so-called Caravan of Death [BBC backgrounder] that followed the coup in which Pinochet seized power and Allende was killed. Pinochet was originally charged in the case in 2000, but the Supreme Court of Chile [official website] ruled in 2002 that he was unfit to stand trial because of dementia and other ailments. In July, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court's ruling [JURIST report] stripping Pinochet of immunity in the homicide case for bodyguards Wagner Salinas and Francisco Lara. Last year, the high court ruled [JURIST report] that Pinochet was not too ill to stand trial on separate charges of human right abuses.

Judge Alejandro Solis initially placed Pinochet under house arrest in October [JURIST report], marking Pinochet's first detention on torture charges, in connection with 36 cases of kidnapping, 23 cases of torture and a single case of homicide at the Villa Grimaldi prison [Wikipedia backgrounder], an infamous political detention center operated by Pinochet's secret police between 1974 and 1977. AP has more. El Mercurio has local coverage. In an extraordinary statement released on his 91st birthday Saturday Pinochet publicly assumed "full political responsibility" [JURIST report] for the actions of his 1973-90 military regime. Pinochet nonetheless justified the military coup against Socialist Salvador Allende that brought him to power as having being necessary to preserve Chile's integrity amid "the continuation and worsening of the worse political and economic crisis than one can remember."

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