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Kissinger called in Pinochet case


PARIS, France -- Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has been summoned to appear as a witness in an investigation of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, police sources have told the Associated Press.

The investigation is looking into allegations that five French citizens who disappeared in Chile during Pinochet's 1973 - 1990 military dictatorship, were kidnapped and tortured.

The summons was delivered to Kissinger at the request of attorney William Bourdon on behalf of the families of those who disappeared. It was delivered to Kissinger's hotel room in Paris on Monday, said AP.

Kissinger, who served as U.S. secretary of state under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald Ford, is in the French capital on a private visit. He is under no legal obligation to answer the summons.

Bourdon said he believes Kissinger's testimony is "essential" to the case because of numerous exchanges between the secret service agencies of the United States and Chile after the 1973 coup that brought Pinochet to power, said the agency.

Judge Roger Le Loire has questioned dozens of witnesses in the investigation. He is also investigating the disappearance of a small number of French nationals in Argentina during the military regimes in that country.

Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon tried unsuccessfully to extradite Pinochet to Spain from Britain in 1998 on charges of torture and human rights abuses, but British authorities released him on health grounds.

A Chilean judge has since indicted Pinochet on homicide and kidnapping charges, holding him responsible for atrocities committed by the "Caravan of Death," a military group that executed 75 political prisoners shortly after the coup in which Pinochet ousted Marxist President Salvador Allende.

• Pinochet Foundation (in Spanish)
• Human Rights Watch
• Britain's High Court
• Human Rights Watch / Defending Human Rights Worldwide
• French Government

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