10 Feb 2013

Exhumation of poet ordered

7:55 am on 10 February 2013

A judge in Chile has ordered the exhumation of the Nobel Prize winning poet Pablo Neruda, as part of an investigation into his death in 1973.

Neruda, 69, died 12 days after a military coup replaced President Salvador Allende with General Augusto Pinochet.

The poet's family has always maintained that he died in a clinic in Santiago of advanced prostate cancer.

Chile started investigating allegations in 2011 that he may have been poisoned.

The date of the exhumation has not been fixed yet.

His body is buried next to his wife Matilde Urrutia in Isla Negra, 120km west of the capital Santiago.

The BBC reports Neruda was a Communist and a friend of President Salvador Allende.

He was a fierce critic of the coup, which he saw as a betrayal of his country.

In December 2011, after the remains of President Allende were exhumed, it was confirmed that he committed suicide.