Supporters have gathered outside the hospital in Chile where Augusto Pinochet is fighting for his life following a heart attack. Doctors treating the former dictator have played down the gravity of the sitution – but say the next 48 hours could prove to be crucial. “General Augusto Pinochet’s health is in a stable and satisfactory condition. The angioplasty surgery has helped. We checked on him earlier and he is in good shape,” said his doctor, Juan Ignacio Vergara.
Pinochet’s condition was reportedly bad enough for him to be read the Roman Catholic last rites. His health has been deteriorating for years. The problems have helped him avoid trial for human rights abuses carried out during his regime. But only last week, the 91-year-old took full responsibility for the events for the first time, instead of blaming subordinates. It is estimated three thousand people died and 28 thousand were tortured as part of political purges, many at the hands of the Chilean secret police.