Chilean Police Book Former Dictator

Gen. Augusto Pinochet was fingerprinted and photographed by police Wednesday as part of his indictment for the killing and disappearance of nine dissidents during his military dictatorship.

Pablo Rodriguez, a lawyer for the 90-year-old former ruler, called the procedure "an affront to a former President of the Republic."

No details were made public from the booking of Pinochet at his guarded suburban Santiago mansion, where he remains under house arrest since his Nov. 24 indictment.

The law, however, mandates that the booking must be done by police officers, taking the prints from all 10 fingers of the person and taking front and side pictures.

Pinochet had been indicted and held under house arrest in other legal cases against him, but had never been submitted to a police booking.

Pinochet was indicted for the killing and disappearance of nine dissidents in 1975 in a case known as Operation Colombo. The nine were part of a total of 119 victims, who the Pinochet regime claimed had been killed in clashes between rival opposition groups.

The government's chief spokesman, Osvaldo Puccio, said that the booking of Pinochet "shows that in Chile all citizens are equal before the law."

Also Wednesday, a Chilean appeals court upheld a life prison sentence for Pinochet's secret police chief, who was convicted of killing 12 suspected urban guerrillas in 1987.

Retired Gen. Hugo Salas can still appeal his sentence before the Supreme Court.

Sixteen of Salas' subordinates in the Central Information Central, the feared security service of Pinochet's 1973-90 rule, were also sentenced to prison terms ranging from five to 15 years.

All were convicted in the killing of 12 suspected members of the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front, a pro-communist guerrilla that fought Pinochet's regime.

The government said at the time that the suspected guerillas had been killed in clashes with security agents, but a judicial investigation revealed they were assassinated in three separate incidents after being arrested.