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Pinochet Questioned by Judge

September 26, 2004|From Reuters

SANTIAGO, Chile — An investigative judge questioned former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for half an hour Saturday in an effort to decide whether to indict him in one of hundreds of human rights cases stemming from his 1973-1990 rule.

Pinochet, 88, told the judge he had no knowledge of 19 dead or disappeared leftists in the Operation Condor case under investigation, a judicial source said on condition of anonymity.

The source quoted Pinochet as saying that Operation Condor, a coordinated plan by South American military regimes to eliminate dissidents, was handled by mid-level military officers.

The judge said he was satisfied with the questioning, which was conducted at the former dictator's home.

"Gen. Pinochet's declaration lasted 20 to 30 minutes. He seemed quite tired and congested. There were about six questions and he answered them directly," Judge Juan Guzman told a local television station.

It was only the second time Pinochet has been questioned in a human rights case by an investigative judge. Such officials act as prosecutors in Chile.

During the questioning, police cordoned Pinochet's house in the wealthy La Dehesa neighborhood in Santiago.

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