Pinochet indicted and put under house arrest

Former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet was indicted and put under house arrest on Wednesday, accused of tax evasion and corruption related to the multi-million-dollar accounts he owns overseas.

The indictment and arrest order issued by Judge Carlos Cerda were communicated to Pinochet by a court official at his suburban Santiago mansion, according to the state television.

It was the first time the retired general, who will mark his 90th birthday on Friday, was indicted for charges not related to the massive human rights abuses during his 1973-90 dictatorship.

The decision by Cerda, however, does not guarantee, that Pinochet will face a full trial. He has been indicted twice in the past on human rights charges, but the courts blocked the trials on health grounds. Two other trial attempts were stopped for the same reason at earlier stages, and scores of other criminal suits filed against him by relatives of victims of his regime are still pending.

Court-appointed doctors who examined Pinochet last month said that while he suffers from a mild dementia and has other neurological problems, he is fit to stand trial.

The charges against Pinochet include tax evasion, using a false passport to open an account abroad, submitting a false government document to a bank and filing a false report on his personal assets, the AP reports.


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