Pinochet undergoes new brain test

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The Independent US

Gen. Augusto Pinochet underwent a brain test for the second time in 10 days Wednesday, doctors said. The results were not disclosed.

The 84-year-old general, who faces 80 criminal complaints for alleged human rights abuses during his 1973-90 dictatorship, spent about an hour at the Fleming Radiologic Institute.

Tests were done to "investigate the flow of blood to the brain," said the institute's director, Dr. Juan Sabaj. He gave no further details

Pinochet was seen smiling but walking with difficulty as he left. A crowd of people was gathered across the street from the medical center. Some applauded; others were shouting "assassin."

On March 21, Pinochet underwent two hours of similar tests at another Santiago clinic after fainting at his residence.

The results were not disclosed, but the Santiago daily El Mercurio said they confirmed British doctors' reports saying Pinochet should be released from custody on health grounds. The El Mercurio report, which has not been denied, said Pinochet suffered "irreversible brain damage."

Pinochet returned to Chile on March 3 after a long confinement in London while fighting extradition to Spain to stand trial for human rights abuses.

In one of the criminal complaints Pinochet faces, a judge has asked a court of appeals to strip him of his congressional immunity so he can stand trial.

Supporters of the former dictator and even some opponents say Pinochet should undergo complete tests to determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

Pinochet suffered three minor strokes during his confinement, British doctors said. He also suffers from diabetes and wears a pacemaker.