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Chile high court affirms Pinochet family embezzlement indictment dismissal

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Chile [official website] on Wednesday upheld an appeals court decision to drop embezzlement charges [JURIST report] brought against the widow and five sons of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet [JURIST news archive; BBC profile]. The six were originally indicted [PDF text, in Spanish; JURIST report] along with 17 others [full list, in Spanish] on October 4 in connection with allegations that Pinochet had embezzled $25 million in government funds. The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed with the lower court's decision that since the accused were not government employees, they could not be charged with embezzling government funds. Charges against a spokesman and several advisers to Pinochet were also dropped.

Pinochet died of a heart attack [JURIST report] in December 2006 without ever facing trial on multiple charges of tax evasion and human rights violations. Last week, the Supreme Court affirmed seven convictions and overturned one [JURIST report] in cases involving murders committed by state agents during Pinochet's 1973-90 regime. The court based its decision on the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials], finding that Chile was in a state of internal armed conflict when the murder occurred. AP has more.

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