Chile: Pinochet given last rites

Former dictator, 91, hospitalized after heart attack, listed "serious but stable."

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December 3, 2006 11:30
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Doctors on Sunday called former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet's condition life threatening, and a spokesman said he received last rites. Pinochet was hospitalized early Sunday after suffering a heart attack and is in serious but stable condition, the Santiago Military Hospital said. The 91-year-old retired general was rushed to the hospital after suffering "an acute" heart attack and a buildup of fluid in his lungs, the hospital said in a statement. "His condition is serious but stable." The brief statement said Pinochet was at the hospital's emergency room undergoing treatment. Pinochet, who ruled from 1973 until 1990, was taken to the hospital from his suburban Santiago residence. Pinochet's spokesman, retired Gen. Guilleremo Garin, said the former strongman was undergoing "thorough medical tests. It's a heart condition. That's all we know now." Garin urged "those who support Gen. Pinochet to remain calm." Pinochet's health has deteriorated gradually in recent years. He has been diagnosed with a mild dementia caused by several strokes. In addition he suffers from diabetes and arthritis and has required a pacemaker for several years. Because of his ill health Chilean courts have dropped charges filed against him for the widespread human rights violations during his 1973-90 regime. He is currently under indictment in two rights cases and for tax evasion. According to an official report prepared by an independent commission appointed by the first civilian government after his long rule, 3,197 people were killed for political reasons during his regime and more than 1,000 others disappeared.


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