Chilean court confirms Allende suicide

A woman shouts slogans during the commemoration of Allende's 100th birthday anniversary in Santiago on June 26, 2008.

Story highlights

  • A court closes the case on the death of former Chilean President Salvador Allende
  • Allende committed suicide as troops closed in on the presidential palace
  • The ruling comes 39 years after his death

A Chilean court has settled the question of how then-President Salvador Allende died, confirming that the leader took his own life in 1973 amid a coup.

Questions over how Allende's life ended culminated in his body being exhumed last year for forensic tests.

An appeals court in Santiago on Monday upheld a judge's ruling that the evidence confirmed the accounts in history texts -- that the leftist leader shot himself at the presidential palace as Gen. Augusto Pinochet's troops closed in.

The timing of the ruling is symbolic: Allende took his own life 39 years ago, on September 11, 1973.

With the ruling, the case of Allende's death is officially closed.

Judge Mario Carroza ordered the exhumation of Allende's remains last year as part of a massive investigation into more than 700 alleged human rights violations during Pinochet's rule.

Some of Allende's supporters doubted the story of his suicide. There were theories that he was killed by the military, or by members of his own security service.

"With the goal of establishing the facts of the case, and motivated by the various versions about this episode that exist, lines of investigation were set and decreed, and all were carried out and every detail was satisfactory," Carroza wrote in his ruling, handed down last December.

The appeals court upheld his findings in a unanimous decision.