The misdeeds of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet seem to be over. Chile Supreme Court declared Pinochet mentally unfit to stand trial. Indeed, the decision seems rather “humane,” as the ex-dictator is 86 already and he hardly understands reality. Doctors say that Pinochet suffers from dementia and an irreversible neurological disorder.
Health problems started with former Chilean dictator in 1998, when he decided to undergo medical treatment in a London clinic. His self-sufficiency let him down: Pinochet could never suppose that he would be persecuted as an ordinary criminal. Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon accused Pinochet of human rights violations, violence, mass torture. and assassinations. British police arrested the ex-dictator right in the hospital ward; however Pinochet was not put into jail, and, soon, London’s supreme court declared the arrest illegal. However, Spanish lawyers appealed to the House of Lords, which was to determine Pinochet’s fate. Until March of 2000, while the case was still being considered by the British parliament, extradition talks were held between Chile, Great Britain, and Spain. Pinochet lived in a gorgeous villa to the south of London, where he successfully malingered a serious illness. In the end, the British lords gave up the old dictator, and Pinochet triumphantly returned to Chile in March 2000.
To tell the truth, the triumph was rather short: in August 2000, Chile's highest court stripped the ex-dictator of his senator immunity and instituted legal proceedings based on more than 100 charges in connection with kidnapping, torture, and assassinations. Pinochet was also accused of creating so-called “Caravans of Death." However, the trial was postponed for two years because of Pinochet’s poor health and due to the activity of his attorneys, who heaped the court with appeals. Today, it became evident that Pinochet will not stand trial.
It is to be admitted that Pinochet’s pension and deserved rest has been spoiled, at the same time his attorneys spent a lot of time settling problems in courts. The fact remains that Pinochet has not been adequately punished. He did not spend a single day in jail. The majority of his time under arrest was spent at luxurious hospitals and villas. Nobody would consider treating Pinochet this way now if his followers had dealt likewise with opponents to the regime in the past.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/07/02/43547.html