- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 24, 2005

SANTIAGO, Chile — Former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet was indicted on human rights charges yesterday and placed under house arrest, hours after he made bail on unrelated corruption charges filed a day earlier.

In a widely expected decision, Judge Victor Montiglio charged Gen. Pinochet in connection with the kidnapping and disappearance of six dissidents in the early years of his 1973-90 dictatorship, his office said.

Judge Montiglio sent a court secretary to Gen. Pinochet’s Santiago mansion to inform the general of the charges, which will force him to spend his 90th birthday today under arrest. The judge did not grant Gen. Pinochet bail.

There was no comment from Gen. Pinochet’s attorney, Pablo Rodriguez.

The new indictment involves the disappearance of six dissidents arrested by Gen. Pinochet’s security services in late 1974. They were among 119 persons, some of whose bodies were found in Argentina, who disappeared in a case known as Operation Colombo.

The Pinochet government said at the time that the dissidents were killed in clashes involving rival armed groups opposed to him.

Friends and relatives had planned a luncheon at Gen. Pinochet’s house to celebrate his birthday but were canceling the event.

“I doubt the boss will be in a mood to attend,” said Gen. Pinochet’s spokesman, retired Gen. Guillermo Garin.

Gen. Pinochet was indicted and put under house arrest on Wednesday by another judge, Carlos Cerda, on charges of tax evasion and corruption. Early yesterday, the Santiago Court of Appeals granted him freedom on $11,500 bond.

A government lawyer had asked the court to increase the bail substantially, saying Gen. Pinochet was not a poor man and continued to have access to some funds. But defense attorneys said the retired general has no money because his accounts have been frozen.

The judge who preceded Judge Cerda in the case, Sergio Munoz, estimated Gen. Pinochet’s overseas fortune at $23 million.

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