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Doctor Says Pinochet Improving, Undergoing Therapy

Doctors at the Santiago military hospital caring for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet say his health is improving, although he will remain in the hospital another week.

The head of the medical team treating General Pinochet told reporters Wednesday that the ailing 91-year-old has begun physical therapy and is eating solid food.

General Pinochet suffered a heart attack Sunday and underwent an angioplasty to reopen his arteries.

Critics say his illness has been exaggerated to allow him to continue avoiding prosecution for numerous human rights violations during his rule from 1979 to 1990. But doctors have dismissed that claim.

On Monday, an appeals court released him from the house arrest imposed last week in connection with the killing of two bodyguards of the president he overthrew in 1973.

The general has been stripped of the legal immunity granted to former presidents.

But he has avoided prosecution, as Chilean courts have ruled he is physically and mentally unfit to stand trial. More than 3,000 people disappeared or were killed for political reasons during General Pinochet's rule.

On his 91st birthday last month, he said he took what he called "political responsibility" for everything that happened during his rule.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.