Former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet fingerprinted

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Police arrived at Augusto Pinochet's home this morning in the Chilean capital of Santiago to fingerprint the 90 year old man and take a mugshot, in an incident his lawyer called an insult. His lawyer, Pablo Rodriguez, said, "This is insulting but what pains us the most is not that a police record has been made for a former president but that there are no legal grounds to do so," and "this is an arbitrary procedure by the judge."

Judge Victor Montiglio ordered the mugshots and fingerprints to create a file on Pinochet. He has been under house arrest since November 2005.

Pinochet is being charged in relation to Operation Colombo, where 119 political dissidents disappeared during his reign in the mid-1970s. Pinochet's regime claims that they all died in clashes with various opposition groups. A government spokesperson said, "Once more in Chile we can happily affirm that there is equality before the law and that the courts of justice are functioning impeccably."

Pinochet is also in other legal trouble. In November he was indicted for tax fraud and other crimes related to some $27 million in foreign bank accounts, according to Reuters. And also on Monday he was ruled fit to stand trial for the disappearances in Operation Colombo. This comes as a change of court rulings, previously cases have been dismissed because of medical reasons.