An appeals court has voted to strip former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution in a human rights case involving the infamous Villa Grimaldi prison.

Friday's ruling must be upheld by the Supreme Court before Pinochet can be tried.

The case against Pinochet would charge him with 23 cases of torturing political prisoners, and 36 disappearances of people who were imprisoned.

Chile's president-elect Michelle Bachelet was among the political dissidents held at the Santiago prison in the mid-1970s, although she is not involved in the case.

Pinochet, who seized power in a 1973 military coup against a socialist government and ruled for 17 years, faces trial in several other human rights cases. His immunity from prosecution is decided on a case-by-case basis.

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