Accessibility links

Breaking News

Chile's Former Dictator Pinochet Is Dead At 91

The former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, greeted his supporters during a celebration of his 91st birthday in Santiago, on November 25 (epa) December 10, 2006 -- Chile's former dictator Augusto Pinochet died in a Santiago hospital today, a week after suffering a heart attack.

The 91-year-old Pinochet was rushed to the hospital December 3 while under house arrest.

He had ruled the South American nation for 17 years and spent his old age fighting human rights, fraud, and corruption accusations. But his defense lawyers successfully argued that he was too ill to stand trial.

Pinochet took power in a coup against democratically elected Marxist President Salvador Allende in 1973.

Under his regime, thousands of opponents of the Pinochet-led junta were killed, illegally detained, tortured, and driven into exile.

But many Chileans continued to support Pinochet long after he relinquished power in 1990, believing that his actions had restored stability to Chile.

In a statement last month, Pinochet accepted "political responsibility" for acts committed during his rule.

(compiled from agency reports)