Chile’s Supreme Court has stripped former dictator Augusto Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution. The ruling means the 90-year-old now faces charges of murder and other human rights abuses at Villa Grimaldi in Santiago, one of the most infamous jails run by his secret police.
Eduardo Contreras, the lawyer representing families of the victims welcomed the decision: “The quantity of evidence presented to the court from military members to documents signed by Pinochet, clearly show that he headed the secret police and was therefore responsible for torture carried out at Villa Grimaldi.”
During Pinochet’s 17-year rule, an estimated 3,000 people died or disappeared. The Supreme Court’s decision comes two days ahead of the 33rd anniversary of the military coup that brought Pinochet to power. Pinochet has lost his immunity from prosecution in several other human rights cases but has not been formally charged with torture.
One of Villa Grimaldi’s more famous inmates was Chile’s current president, Michelle Bachelet, who was detained and tortured along with her mother and father.