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France to try 17 Pinochet associates linked to disappearances of French nationals

[JURIST] A French judge on Wednesday signed a 191-page indictment against 17 former associates of former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], charging them with abduction and torture in connection with the disappearance of four French nationals [JURIST report] in Chile during Pinochet's rule from 1973 to 1990. The 17 are thought to be living in Chile and Argentina, and will likely be tried in absentia, facing potential life sentences. AFP has more.

Pinochet died of a heart attack [JURIST report] last December, thwarting numerous attempts to bring the former dictator to justice. Pinochet had enjoyed general immunity from prosecution under the 1980 Chilean Constitution [official translation, PDF], but was incrementally stripped of that immunity [BBC report] in light of charges brought against him. Last November, on the occasion of his 91st birthday, Pinochet publicly assumed full political responsibility [JURIST report] for the actions of his former regime.

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