Former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet has been placed under house arrest by a Chilean judge on human rights charges
Former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet has been indicted and placed under house arrest for nine permanent kidnappings and one homicide, according to Judge Juan Guzman rule on Monday. The judge also ruled that the general was mentally fit to stand trial.
Charges had been filed against Pinochet under the frame of the notorious “Operation Condor”, a reputed plan by South American military dictatorships to suppress dissidents starting in the 1970s.
Judge Guzman told reporters it was “easy” for him to take the decision after reviewing the file. “Once I finished reading all the documents and studying all the declarations, it was easy for me to rule”, said Mr. Guzman. He also confirmed that Pinochet was declared mentally fit to attend to all the legal procedures stipulated by law.
Pinochet will wait hearings at his residence La Dehesa in the outskirts of Santiago, Chile's capital. The former dictator will be noticed soon.
Guzman said that he took into consideration a number of declarations and public appearances of Pinochet, as an interview to a Miami TV network.
Pinochet lawyers are expected to appeal before the Chilean Supreme Court as a way to avoid indiction. The Supreme Court dismissed charges against Pinochet in 2001. At that time, Judge Guzman indicted him on human rights charges for the Death Caravan, a case of physical elimination of dissidents after seizing power in September 1973.
During hearing early this year, Pinochet declared that he did not remember anything about Operation Condor. “It wasn't my business. It was a matter of middle-rank officials, I think”, he told judge. Pinochet also argued that he was not reported about crackdown on opponents. “They did no tell me about such things, as I was President of the Republic. I was reported on big things, as the issue of Argentina (bordering conflicts)”.
Outside Chile, Gen. Pinochet is also required by the Spanish Judge Baltazar Garzon on charges ranging from corruption to crimes against humanity.