Pinochet dies after heart attack

Monday 11 December 2006 08.56
Augusto Pinochet - Dead at 91
Augusto Pinochet - Dead at 91

Augusto Pinochet, who ruled Chile from 1973 tp 1990, has died a week after suffering a heart attack. He was 91.

General Pinochet grabbed power in a coup and went on to become the best known of the South American dictators of the 1970s and 1980s.

He spent his old age fighting human rights, fraud and corruption charges.

Under his regime more than 3,000 people died in political violence, many at the hands of repressive secret police.

He was accused of dozens of human rights violations but a lengthy effort to bring him to trial in Chile failed as his defence lawyers successfully argued that he was too ill to face charges.

Despite Mr Pinochet's human rights record, many Chileans loved him and said he saved Chile from Marxism.

But even many loyal supporters abandoned him after it came out in 2004 that he had stashed some $27m in secret off-shore bank accounts that were under investigation at the time of his death.