France renews arrest warrant for Pinochet

27th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, 26 May (AFP) - A French investigating magistrate Thursday renewed arrest warrants for former Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet and 18 of his associates over the disappearance of five French nationals, judicial officials told AFP.

PARIS, 26 May (AFP) - A French investigating magistrate Thursday renewed arrest warrants for former Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet and 18 of his associates over the disappearance of five French nationals, judicial officials told AFP.  

Among those on the warrants are General Manuel Contreras, 76, founder of the secret police under Pinochet, and Paul Schaefer, 83, founder of Colonia Dignidad, a mysterious sect and a camp for political prisoners in the Andes mountains during the 1973-1990 Pinochet regime.  

The warrants will be transmitted in the coming days to the foreign and justice ministries, and Interpol, the source said.  

The documents against Pinochet and the 18 accused say they are wanted for illegal "arrests, abduction and detention accompanied by acts of torture" or complicity in those crimes.  

They are suspected of having ordered or participated in the arrest and detention of four French citizens who were in Chile at the time and who are the subject of an official French probe. The case of a fifth French person has not been elucidated.  

According to a doctor who examined Pinochet recently, the former Chilean president, is not mentally nor physically fit to stand trial in his own country where he is on bail on charges relating to the disappearance of 3,000 opponents to his regime.  

However in February 2004 France's then foreign minister Dominique de Villepin said Pinochet could face trial in absentia.  

A Chilean court of appeal is also examining a request for the lifting of immunity from prosecution for tax fraud. Pinochet has been accused of maintaining bank accounts in the United States, containing millions of dollars, which were only revealed in July last year.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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