sadaam and augusto - merry xmas

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    Court upholds charges against Pinochet

    An appeals court in Chile has ruled General Augusto Pinochet will face murder charges, after it upheld charges and a detention order against the country's former dictator.

    The Santiago Appeals Court denied a defense motion filed last week seeking to stop the case against 89-year-old retired General Pinochet, who was still in the hospital after hospital officials said he suffered a mild stroke on Saturday.

    Critics said the hospital stay was a Pinochet strategy to evade charges of murder and kidnapping in the 1970s disappearances of 10 leftists under Operation Condor, a South American spy network aimed at eliminating political opponents to military leaders.

    "The injunction was rejected by three votes to zero, that means unanimously," one of the three judges on the appeals court, Juan Escobar said.

    The only previous time a human rights case against General Pinochet reached this stage in Chile's courts, the appeals court threw out the charges with a 2001 ruling that his mild dementia made him too ill to stand trial.

    The Supreme Court upheld that ruling in 2002.

    "Today's ruling has set an important example for those countries once involved in Operation Condor," said William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

    Lawyers for the General will appeal to the Supreme Court, but the 89-year-old is a step closer to facing trial.
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