Pinochet stripped of immunity in torture cases

A court opened the way for former dictator Augusto Pinochet to be prosecuted in 59 cases of torture and kidnapping that took place at one of his regime's secret prisons - one that once held President-elect Michelle Bachelet and her mother. The president of the Santiago Court of Appeals, Juan Escobar, said on Friday the justices voted 13-5 to lift Pinochet's immunity, but the ruling that must be upheld by the Supreme Court before the 90-year-old former strongman can be tried. Pinochet's defense said an appeal will be filed. Bachelet and her mother, Angela Jeria, were arrested 15 months after the 1973 coup led by Gen. Pinochet and were taken to Villa Grimaldi, where both were tortured. Their cases, however, are not among the 36 kidnappings and 23 cases of torture that led to the removal of the legal immunity Pinochet enjoys as former president.