Pinochet to be charged with tax-evasion

There was an old joke back in the ’70s: Getting Nixon for burglary was like getting Hitler for tax evasion. Now it seems life imitates black humor. From the BBC, June 7:

Mixed day in court for Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet may be charged with tax evasion but not over human rights abuses committed when he was Chile’s military ruler, a court has ruled.

The appeals court in Santiago stripped him of the immunity to prosecution he enjoys as a former president, allowing a financial inquiry to go forward. But it also ruled him too ill to be charged with killings in the 1970s.

It was the last human rights charge to be brought against the 89-year-old, whose lawyers insist on his innocence.

The court accepted that the general was not mentally fit enough to be prosecuted over Operation Condor – a joint campaign by as many as six South American regimes to hunt down and kill their opponents.

Human rights lawyer Eduardo Contreras said Tuesday’s rulings suggested money was more important than blood in Chile.

“The judges find it unacceptable that Pinochet might be a thief but consider the possibility that he could be a murderer unimportant,” said the lawyer, who represents families bereaved under his rule.

The former leader was treated in hospital last month after suffering what aides said was a suspected mild stroke.

See also WW4 REPORT #s 92, 31