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Judge lifts house arrest for Pinochet

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A Chilean judge lifted the house-arrest order on Gen. Augusto Pinochet on Monday, four days after a court dropped homicide and kidnapping charges against the former dictator and said he must instead be tried for covering up crimes.

Judge Juan Guzman set bail at $3,450 for Pinochet, 85, who was confined to his country estate 80 miles southwest of Santiago 40 days earlier. The decision must still be upheld by the Santiago Court of Appeals, which is expected to approve it Tuesday or Wednesday.

Last week, the Court of Appeals dropped charges filed by Guzman, who is probing the "Caravan of Death," a military group that executed 75 political prisoners in various cities shortly after the 1973 coup led by Pinochet. He ruled Chile until 1990.

The indictment that was dropped charged Pinochet with homicide for 57 victims whose bodies were recovered and with kidnapping for 18 who remain unaccounted for. The appeals court said Pinochet learned of the crimes after they occurred but failed to report them.

Pinochet was seen Sunday on his way to a chapel in the compound. He walked haltingly, using a cane and aided by bodyguards, and raised his hand to acknowledge applause from supporters outside the heavily guarded estate.