Groups regret Pinochet died before standing trial

December 11, 2006 02:03

The death of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet Sunday brought tears to his dwindling number of supporters as thousands more gathered to dance, drink champagne and celebrate his passing. Police struggled to keep the groups apart and used water cannons and tear gas to scatter activists outside the presidential palace. Across the globe, human rights activists expressed frustration that the general managed to avoid trial for the thousands of deaths and ruined lives left by his 17-year regime. "Death seals Pinochet's impunity," said Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel, who had been a friend of Salvador Allende, the democratically elected Chilean president who died in the 1973 coup that brought Pinochet to power. "Pinochet has died, and I don't think he's going to heaven," British human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson told BBC television. "His death does rob us of a proper trial and retribution for his victims."

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