Santiago – Examinations of the remains of Chilean President Salvador Allende confirm the head of state took his own life during the September 1973 coup that toppled his socialist government and ushered in 17 years of brutal military rule.
The late president's daughter, Sen. Isabel Allende, spoke Tuesday about the results of the tests after receiving a report from the Santiago medical examiner's office.
"The conclusion is that which the Allende family had. That is, President Allende, on the day of Sept. 11, 1973, given the extreme circumstances he experienced, made the decision to commit suicide rather than be humiliated or endure some other situation," the lawmaker told reporters.
Salvador Allende was killed by "a single shot," chief medical examiner Patricio Bustos said.
Sen. Allende expressed appreciation for the work of the international team of doctors who performed the autopsy and said the findings would be welcomed by the late president's loved ones, who - she said - never doubted that his death was a suicide.
The investigation of Salvador Allende's death, overseen by Santiago appellate court Judge Mario Carroza, is part of a broader review of 726 hitherto ignored cases of alleged human rights violations by the 1973-1990 military regime.
It was suggested that Allende was murdered by the troops who stormed the presidential palace after air force planes bombed the building.
Allende's body was autopsied immediately after his death and then buried in the seaside resort town of Viña del Mar. With the restoration of democracy in 1990, the family had him exhumed for a second autopsy, after which he was re-buried in Santiago.
The body was exhumed again May 23.
The latest examination established that Salvador Allende sat on a chair in his office, placed an AK-47 assault rifle between his knees and squeezed the trigger.
Two bullets exited the weapon; one passed through the president's skull and the other was found lodged in a wall behind him, according to medical examiner Bustos.