Chile's General Augusto Pinochet : Archive news following his arrest in London. Spain and others seek to extradite the ex Chilean leader.


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Pinochet Archive News
- Previous news relating to the General from the LondonNet newsdesk

Pinochet Given Fresh Hope by Lords
- Lords order fresh Law Lords hearing in January
- Hoffman's failure to disclose Amnesty link blows extradition, for now

AUGUSTO Pinochet took a step closer to freedom today when an appeal hearing at the Lords ruled in his favour.

The appeal judges ruled that Lord Hoffman's failure to disclose his link to Amnesty International could be seen to have prejudiced the General's right to a fair hearing. There will now be a new Law Lords hearing in January. This will re-consider the Crown's appeal from the High Court decision which ruled that Pinochet could not face prosecution as enjoyed sovereign immunity.

At the first Lords appeal Lord Hoffman joined two others in a majority decision refusing sovereign immunity and allowing the extradition to continue. Now Hoffman is under fire from his opponents and anti-Pinochet groups for blowing the initial appeal.

What do you think?
Should Pinochet now be extradited to Spain to face chages of murder, torture and genocide?
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Pinochet Lawyers in New Appeal to Lords
- Legal team argue first 'bias' Law Lords ruling should be set aside
- Crown will argue Lord Hoffman's connection to Amnesty was public knowledge

LAWYERS acting for Augusto Pinochet are back at the House of Lords today in an attempt to overturn a previous Law Lord ruling allowing the extradition process to proceed against their client.

They will argue that the original decision should be set aside because one of the five presiding Law Lords, Lord Hoffman, failed to declare association with human rights group Amnesty International. Hoffman chairs a fund raising body which supports Amnesty. Pinochet's team argue that because of this link there is potential for the appearance or existence of bias.

However, it has been revealed that Kingsley Napley, the London based law firm who make up the bulk of Pinochet's legal team, were aware of Hoffman's connection to Amnesty in February. They received a letter sent to law firms across the UK in which the Lord Chancellor asked for donations for a new home for Amnesty. The letter clearly states that Lord Hoffman was the chairman of the fund raising body, Amnesty's International Charity. Kingsley Napley accept that they donated a thousand pounds following this appeal.

Later this week there will be an appeal over Home Secretary Jack Straw's decision to allow the formal extradition hearings to proceed.

Hoffman Targeted By Pinochet's Team
- Amnesty link centre of appeal to overturn Law Lords extradition ruling
- Falkland Islanders bear brunt of Chilean sanctions

AUGUSTO Pinochet's legal team will focus on the link between Lord Hoffman and human rights group Amnesty International in their appeal due to start later this week.

In what is likely to be the first of a series of appeals, the former Chilean leader's lawyers will seek for the Law Lords ruling in favour of extradition to be set aside. Hoffman helped tip the balance to a three to two majority in the Lords decision. He is a director of a fund raising charity linked to Amnesty, who contributed submissions to the Law Lords.

Falkland Islanders are among those to suffer most from Chilean sanctions against Britain following Home Secretary Jack Straw's decision to proceed with extradition last week. One of the main supply and passenger routes to the South Atlantic island was via Chile, but this service has now been suspended as part of their sanctions package. As there are no civilian flights to nearby Argentina, flight support will now be from the UK via Ascension .

Pinochet's Victims Celebrate Straw's Extradition Ruling
- Chile withdraws ambassador, Thatcher claims decision was 'political'
- LondonNet Comment: Straw does the right thing

THERE has been mixed reaction to the news that Home Secretary Jack Straw has decided General Augusto Pinochet should remain in the United Kingdom pending extradition hearings.

Straw decided that there were no compassionate or other circumstances which should halt the due process of the law. Namely the outstanding extradition warrant from Spanish prosecutors for offences of torture and genocide.

Victims of Pinochet's regime welcomed Straw's ruling, with celebrations taking place in London, Chile and Spain.

Others were less pleased. Chile has withdrawn its ambassador to the United Kingdom in protest at the decision . The US is concerned about the ramifications of Pinochet's extradition. Primarily it does not want details of the CIA's dirty tricks in Chile in the 1970s being released to the public through a trial in Spain.

Margaret Thatcher ,who had tea with General Pinochet just days before his arrest, condemned the Home Secretary's decision. "He had ample power to put an end to this shameful and damaging episode. He has chosen instead to prolong it. Neither he nor the Government can hide behind legal posturing. This was a political decision and it represents a failure of political leadership" she said.

The former leader must now attend a Belmarsh Magistrates Court hearing on Friday, 11 December. There details of Pinochet's committal will be aired with the magistrates likely to rubber stamp this first stage in the General's formal extradition. Pinochet is currently residing in The Wentworth Estate, a leafy private suburb in Surrey.

- LondonNet Comment: Straw does the right thing

Jack Straw was sure to run in controversy whichever way he ruled in the Pinochet extradition affair.

LondonNet is pleased that Straw has effectively now drawn a line in the sand, creating a modern framework for international law and human rights to take us into the new millennium. It would be wrong to enter the new era saddled with the same injustices and toleration of butchers that have dogged this bloody century.

From this moment all leaders who play fast and loose with citizens rights can never sleep easy. This is the prime achievement of this new world order. We now hope that truth and reconciliation can follow for the people of Chile.

Straw Says Pinochet Must Stay in UK
- Home Secretary rules for extradition hearing to proceed

Home Secretary Jack Straw has decided that General Augusto Pinochet should remain in the United Kingdom pending extradition hearings.

Straw decided that there were no compassionate or other circumstances which should halt the due process of the law. Namely the outstanding extradition warrant from Spanish prosecutors for offences of toture and genocide.

Pinochet is currently residing in The Wentworth Estate, a leafy private suburb in Surrey. His lawyers will continue their fight to allow his return to Chile.

The former leader must now attend a Bow strret Magistrates Court hearing on Friday, 11 December.

What do you think?
Should Pinochet now be extradited to Spain to face chages of murder, torture and genocide?
- Have your say today on our News Talkback bulletin board.

Straw's Pinochet Decision Imminent
- Home Secretary's extradition ruling could be released today
- Pinochet's lawyers support for Amnesty

Home Secretary Jack Straw's decision over whether to proceed with extradition hearings for General Pinochet is imminent. It could even be announced as early as today.

Straw must decide whether to allow the former Chilean leader home or to allow Spain and maybe others to proceed with extradition requests. Pinochet is currently residing in The Wentworth Estate, a leafy private suburb in Surrey.

Following yesterday's stories about Lord Hoffman - the law lord who is a director of Amnesty - it has now been revealed that the legal firm, Kingsley Napley, who make up Pinochet's team has donated funds to the human rights organisation.

What do you think?
Should Pinochet now be extradited to Spain to face chages of murder, torture and genocide?
- Have your say today on our News Talkback bulletin board.

Law Lord Hoffman is Amnesty Director
- Pinochet's supporters claim bias in extradition ruling

Pinochet's supporters are taking heart from reports in a newspaper here that Lord Hoffman, one of the three Law Lords who ruled to extradite the General, is an unpaid director for Amnesty, the human rights organisation.

Amnesty International has confirmed that Lord Hoffman is an unpaid director of its charitable arm. They deny that this influenced his ruling and insist he played no role in their campaign to extradite Pinochet.

But the strongman's lawyers are sure to use the news, reported in the Guardian newspaper, in their continuing appeals.

Chile Won't Try Pinochet
- Chilean group casts doubt on home trial for General

A group of leading Chilean public figures including academics and lawyers have written to a UK newspaper. They deny that General Pinochet would face a trial in their country if he was allowed to return home.

The signatories included Tomas Vial, formerly with the truth commission and Sergio Espejo, former Chief of staff to the presidency of the Christian Democrats. They argued that the former leader had given himself rock solid amnesty from prosecution.

The Lawyers Commission for Human Rights also warned Britain that it could see itself being prosecuted for a breach of the Convention Against Torture if it failed to extradite Pinochet.

Pinochet Shifted out to Surrey
- 'Distressed' General moves to private estate in suburbia
- Embarrassed US seeks early return for South American strongman

GENERAL Augusto Pinochet has finally left the Grovelands Priory Hospital in North London and moved into a posh rented house in Surrey.

Yesterday we reported that the hospital's administrators had asked the extradition threatened former leader to leave their clinic as he was fit and his presence was disrupting other patients. Pinochet's supporters have found him a rented house in the private Wentworth estate, Virginia Water, Surrey. The exclusive area is home showbiz celebrities Bruce Forsyth and Russ Abbot.

The General's solicitor Michael Caplan his client and his family are 'distressed by reports concerning the Senator's stay at Grovelands priory...the senator has always been anxious to move from the hospital as soon as possible'. He left the clinic last night and was escorted to his new address in Surrey by a convoy of armed police.

Meanwhile US officials are finding it difficult maintain impartiality over the issue of extradition. They deny that they are seeking to pressure UK Home Secretary Jack Straw to reject the extradition attempt. However, their Secretary of State Madeleine Albright argued yesterday that the people of Chile were 'wrestling with a very difficult problem of how to balance the need of justice with the requirements of reconciliation'.

US officials are keen for the matter to end and for the General to be returned to his country. They may be mindful of the potential for embarrassing information to leak out if a full trial does take place in Spain or elsewhere. Evidence will inevitably be heard regarding the CIA's and US business's involvement in the 1973 destabilisation and violent overthrow of Allende's democratically elected government.

Hospital Gives Pinochet his Marching Orders
- Priory says general is fit and well and his presence is disrupting patients

THE PRIORY hospital, North London, where Augusto Pinochet has stayed on conditional bail since his High Court action has asked him to leave.

The hospital's officials have declared that the former Chilean leader is "fit and no longer requires specialist medical care". Paul Jarman, a spokesman for the clinic said "Grovelands Priory is preparing to discharge General Pinochet from its care. It was stated in open court...that General Pinochet was fit enough to appear at an initial bail hearing. In the opinion of Priory Healthcare, he no longer requires the specialist medical and nursing care provided at Grovelands Priory".

Furthermore some patients in the hospital have complained about the disruption caused by Pinochet and his entourage of family, friends and advisors.

This latest twist in the strong man saga should help Home Secretary Jack Straw dismiss claims that he should release Pinochet on compassionate grounds.

What do you think?
Should Pinochet now be extradited to Spain to face chages of murder, torture and genocide?
- Have your say today on our News Talkback bulletin board.

Pinochet's Suicide Threat
- General would prefer 'coward's way out' than face justice in Spain
- Insulza is 'lying through his teeth' about possibility of trial in Chile says Santiago lawyer

AUGUSTO Pinochet's family have claimed that the 83 year old would elect to commit suicide rather than face justice in Spain.

His nephew, Rafael Pinochet Savedra said "He would rather kill himself or be killed by his guards than face the humiliation and indignity of being sent to face trial in Spain" reports the Mirror newspaper. The former leader's wife Lucia Hiriat de Pinochet said "he is very weak and depressed about his position".

Since the Lords' historic ruling last week Scotland Yard have beefed up security surrounding Pinochet, both at the North London hospital and the Chilean Embassy.

Home Secretary Jack Straw now has until the 11th of December to rule whether Pinochet's extradition should proceed. Over the weekend Chile's foreign minister Jose Miguel Insulza claimed that the General should return to his country to face charges there. He points to the 14 outstanding cases against the general.

However, Santiago based lawyer Javier Diaz has written to LondonNet to explain that there is no chance of Pinochet being successfully prosecuted in Chile. Diaz said that even in the unlikely event that the general's local immunity from prosecution was lifted, the pressure on any trial judge would be so great that proceedings would collapse.

"Chile's foreign affairs Secretary is lying through his teeth when he gives assurances that Pinochet will be tried in Chile" Diaz said. "A grandson is easily hijacked, a car is easily rigged, a shot can easily be fired. No, no one would ever condemn Pinochet here" he added.

"In a nutshell, if Pinochet were to stand trial in Santiago, he would be playing with loaded dice in his favour" Diaz concluded.

You can read the full text of Diaz's comments in our News Talkback section. Feel free to add your own comments too.

Chile's Foreign Minister Flies In
- Jose Miguel Insulza to meet Robin Cook in bid to free Pinochet
- Straw would like International Court to try former dictator

CHILE's Foreign Minister, Jose Miguel Insulza, is flying to Britain to step up efforts to secure the release of their former leader Augusto Pinochet.

Insulza plans to meet the British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and urge him to release the 'ailing' Senator on grounds of compassion. Chile will also argue that the eleven outstanding cases against the former Dictator in their own courts should be given precedence over other countries extradition claims. Observers here point out that the two arguments are mutually exclusive; if the former general is too ill to stand trial here or in Spain, then the same will apply on his return to Chile.

In a separate development, sources close to the Home Secretary Jack Straw have suggested that ideally he would like an international court to try Pinochet for crimes against humanity including torture and genocide. Straw is facing increasing pressure from the right wing establishment in the UK to release Pinochet. However, most experts agree it is unlikely he will take this course of action.

At present Straw has until December 2nd to finalise his decision over whether to allow the formal elements of the extradition procedure to take their course. Until then Pinochet remains on conditional bail at The Priory, a North London psychiatric hospital. The former leader's supporters plan to apply at the next court hearing for his bail conditions to be varied to allow him to move to a private house, maybe in Oxfordshire.

What do you think?
Should Pinochet now be extradited to Spain to face chages of murder, torture and genocide?
- Have your say today on our News Talkback bulletin board.

Straw Asks For More Time
- Home Secretary wants seven more days to determine Pinochet's fate

Jack Straw has asked Bow Street Magistrates Court for a seven day extension to his deadline to determine the fate of Pinochet.

The Home Secretary cited legal complexity as the reason for his requested delay.

At present he has until December 2nd to finalise his decision over whether to allow the formal elements of the extradition procedure to take their course.

Lords Rule Pinochet Should Be Extradited
- No Crown Immunity for former Dictator
- Appeal judges split three to two over controversial decision
- LondonNet Comment : Pinochet gets a lesson in the Rule of Law

General Pinochet will be extradited to Spain to face charges of genocide, murder and torture.

In a sensational ruling three of their Lordships allowed the Crown's appeal, with two dissenting. Now Home Secretary Jack Straw must decide whether to rubber stamp the extradition order.

Pinochet, who celebrates his 83rd birthday today, was hoping to return to Chile by private jet, which was waiting for him at Brize Norton airport. Now the Ex-Chilean leader must sweat it out as he waits to discover his fate.

There were scenes of mass jubilation outside the North London clinic where the South American strongman was being held on bail. Supporters of his extradition were delighted and surprised by their Lordships' ruling. The decision overturned a High Court ruling which argued that Pinochet enjoyed sovereign immunity and could thus not be extradited.

Jack Straw has until December 2nd to reach a decision over the extradition. Pinochet's lawyers will continue to argue that the Spanish request should be ignored due to inadequacies in the writ. They will also submit that Straw should exercise his discretion to over rule the Lord's acceptance of the exradition request. They will echo the former leader's friend Margaret Thatcher's view that the 'frail, sick and old' man should be returned to Chile.

However it is now thought unlikely that Jack Straw will usurp the will of the Lords, the highest court in the land.

LondonNet Comment : Pinochet gets a lesson in the Rule of Law

'You're going to reap just what you sow' sang Lou Reed at the time of Pinochet's bloody overthrow of Salvador Allende's government in 1973.

Twenty five years later Reed's words have returned to haunt the South American sadist. And to the disbelief of many campaigners here in the United Kingdom our Labour Government has finally rediscovered its radical roots by allowing the English courts to further the boundaries of international justice.

Aside from an ugly rabble of Pinochet supporters, be they our ex Premier Margaret 'Milk Snatcher' Thatcher, or the sinister Pinochet Foundation in Chile, citizens all over the world will welcome today's historic and brave ruling. A tremor of fear will shudder down the spine of every leader around the globe who plays fast and loose with the human rights of their own people and those of their foreign guests.

Pinochet may reflect that while the British have afforded him a full and fair hearing under Common Law he extended no such rights to those foreign citizens he tortured, mutilated and murdered during his long stay in power. As for dissidents from his own nation, he showed nothing but contempt. When asked a short time before his fateful journey to Britain whether he had any regrets over his actions, he replied yes, he wished he had been even firmer.

Some have pressed for mercy for the strongman who today celebrates his 83rd birthday a frail and indicted old man. But mercy can only follow justice. The allegations of Spanish Judge Baltazar must first be put to Pinochet. The evidence must be heard and the truth must out. Only then can consideration of mitigating personal circumstances be aired. That is the Rule of Law. A subject the octogenarian will finally get a lesson in over the coming months. Eighty three years too late but timely nonetheless.

What do you think?
Should Pinochet now be extradited to Spain to face chages of murder, torture and genocide?
- Have your say today on our News Talkback bulletin board.

Pinochet Case Not Political Says Aznar
- Spanish PM says charges are legal not political

THE Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar has insisted that his country's extradition case against former Augusto Pinochet is legal, not political.

"The Pinochet affair is a legal issue, and must not in any way become a political issue," said Aznar.

The former Chilean dictator is currently on conditional bail in a North London psychiatric hospital. A decision is expected by the House of Lords next week as to whether the former ruler will have to face charges of murder, genocide and torture in Spain.

Lords Split in Pinochet Appeal
- Imminent decision delayed by disagreement

THE Crown's appeal to the House of Lords in the Pinochet extradition case has been delayed by a split among the jurists.

The rumour mill indicates that their Lordships are split 3 to 2 as to whether to allow the former Chilean leader to be extradited to Spain to face charges for murder and torture.

The Lords reserved thief judgement last week after hearing submissions from both the Crown and Pinochet's lawyers. Their decision is expected very soon. Meanwhile the ex-leader remains on conditional bail in a North London psychiatric hospital.

Pinochet Hearing Over
- Lord's reserve judgement to a later date

THE Appeal by the Crown to the House of Lords, in the General Pinochet extradition case has drawn to a close.

Thursday the five Law Lords heard closing submissions from both the Crown's and General Pinochet's lawyers. The Crown are seeking to overturn a 28 October 1998 High Court ruling that threw out an extradition request from Spanish authorities.

Spain wants Pinochet to face charges relating to murder, torture and genocide during his years as Chilean leader/dictator

Lords Hear Pinochet Case
- Crown's appeal to House of Lords continues

THE Crown's appeal to House of Lords continues in the General Augusto Pinochet case today.

The Crown Prosecution service are appealing the earlier ruling by the High Court that a Spanish extradition order against Pinochet was invalid due to his 'sovereign immunity'. Prosecutors submit that in any event the Chilean General is not immune for crimes alleged to have been committed before his 1973 coup.

Pinochet remains on bail under armed guard in a north London psychiatric hospital.

Human Rights Campaigners Table New Charges in Attempt to Nail Pinochet
- Amnesty and others draft new charges to block General's release

AMNESTY International and other human rights campaigners have been allowed to include fresh charges in the Pinochet appeal being lodged by the Crown Prosecution Service to the House of Lords.

They hope the new complaints will tip the balance in their attempt to persuade Britain's senior court that Augusto Pinochet should indeed be extradited to Spain. Other European countries are also seeking the General's presence in court, including Switzerland, Sweden and France. They cite cases against their own citizens in an attempt to detract from the view that Chilean crimes should be tried in Chile.

The Crown will argue that the High Court was wrong to rule that the former dictator could not face prosecution because he enjoyed sovereign immunity at the time of the alleged offences. They will submit that this is akin to Adolf Hitler or Saddam Hussein claiming the same for their crimes of genocide. The human rights bodies will say that if Pinochet is set free then there will be no teeth left for the international community to impeach and try the world's legion of brutal leaders. (3/11/98)

General Pinochet granted conditional bail

FORMER Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet has been granted conditional bail pending the Crown's House of Lords appeal next week. The conditions include remaining at the North London hospital where he was moved to Thursday and having an armed policeman with him at all times. (30/10/98)

Pinochet Confined to London Asylum
- General moved to psychiatric hospital under heavy police guard

AN ambulance under heavy police guard carried General Augusto Pinochet away from the London Clinic where he has been detained since his arrest and placed him in the Grovelands Priory Hospital.

The London Clinic, Harley Street, was said to be unhappy with the disruption to patients caused by the 82 year old General's 13 day detainment there. Grovelands is a leading psychiatric hospital tucked away in Southgate, North London. Pinochet remains under armed police guard in his new 'home'.

Reaction to the High Court judgement continued yesterday. Germany's new Green Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, praised "the independence of the English judiciary" but added he had felt "great satisfaction" on hearing of Pinochet's arrest. Meanwhile the American Association of Jurists argued that the General did not enjoy immunity under international law and predicted that the House of Lords would overturn Bingham's decision next week. (30/10/98)

House of Lords Next Stop for Pinochet
- Crown appeals High Court ruling that General has immunity
- General moved from The London Clinic under heavy police guard

LAWYERS for the Crown will appeal the High Court ruling to the House of Lords in the Pinochet case.

The three High Court Judges unanimously ruled Wednesday that the former Chilean leader did have 'sovereign' immunity from prosecution and that therefore his arrest and detention at the London Clinic were unlawful. They quashed one of the two provisional warrants and stayed the other pending the ruling next week. They also ordered the Crown to pay the General's court costs - 350,000 UKP.

The appeal to the Lords is expected to start next week with all parties keen to resolve the matter as soon as possible. The ruling has not gone down well with left wing Labour MPs.

Backbencher Ken Livingstone called for Lord Chief Justice Binghams resignation for "protecting someone who tortured and murdered not just Spanish citizens but British citizens as well". Pinochet's supporter were elated, Chile's deputy Foreign Minister Mariano Fernandez said "we are happy that the British High Court has recognised the state immunity".

In a separate development an ambulance under heavy police guard carried the General away from The London Clinic where he has been detained since his arrest. He is believed to have been transferred to another London hospital. (29/10/98)

Pinochet Wins High Court Ruling
- Lord Chief Justice Bingham rules Pinochet has immunity
- But General still held pending appeal to the House of Lords

Lord Chief Justice Bingham, Mr Justice Collins and Mr Justice Richards have ruled that General Augusto Pinochet "was entitled to diplomatic immunity as former sovereign from the criminal and civil process of the English courts".

Spain had requested the ex-Chilean leader's extradition from the UK to face questions and a possible trial for disappearances of Chileans and Spaniards during his rule.

Lord Bingham added that the General must remain under arrest "pending determination of any appeal against this decision". Such appeal will take the place to the House of Lords should the Crown seek to pursue the matter further.

Further extradition warrants have been received from Switzerland and Spain and the position as to these remains unclear. (28/10/98)

High Court Decision over Pinochet nears
- Application for ailing General's release weakened by fresh charges
- Now Swiss lodge extradition warrant for ex-Chilean leader, Sweden set to follow

GENERAL Augusto Pinochet's position seemed to weaken yet further Monday.

First Chilean representatives reported that his state of health was very poor and he was not fully aware of activities surrounding him. Then Switzerland lodged a formal extradition warrant with British authorities - on behalf of a Swiss-Chilean student who disappeared in 1977. With Sweden set to follow with an extradition warrant of their own. Finally, lawyers for the Crown told judges that fresh evidence was arriving on a daily basis.

In the High Court Pinochet's lawyer's argued that to for him to face trial here would expose other Heads of State to similar actions when they travel abroad. Clive Nicholls QC, for the General, speculated that the Queen could be arrested in New York were Argentina to issue an extradition warrant on behalf of Falklands War victims. However, Alun Jones QC, defending the Crown's position told the three High Court judges that fresh evidence was arriving on a daily basis, currently pointing to as many as 4,000 murders and disappearances.

The three judges; Lord Chief Justice Bingham, Mr Justice Collins and Mr Justice Richards, will continue to hear further evidence relating to the applications today. The Lord Chief Justice indicated that they would then reserve their judgement and announce their decision Wednesday. (27/10/98)

Pinochet Case Goes To Court
- General's lawyers apply to High Court for his release
- Foreign Office admit ex-Chilean leader was given VIP welcome at Heathrow

LAWYERS acting for General Augusto Pinochet return to the High Court, London, today in an attempt to obtain his early release and avoid extradition to Spain.

They will argue that his arrest ten days ago was unlawful as he was head of state when the alleged crimes were committed. They are also submitting a writ of habeas corpus to have the 82 year old released and leave to seek judicial review of the the decision to detain him.

In a separate development of the evolving saga, it has emerged that Pinochet was greeted at London's Heathrow airport with a full VIP welcome, including access to an exclusive hospitality suite. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook admitted the costly welcome package this weekend. (26/10/98)

UK Eases Grip on Pinochet

- Government could back down over General's arrest
STATEMENTS by senior government sources yesterday seem to indicate that it may release Pinochet on "humanitarian grounds".

The news will anger human rights campaigners who are eager to ensure that the prosecution of the Chilean strongman goes ahead. Yesterday they sought to persuade Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon to include the cases of 119 deaths at the hands of Pinochet's regime. But Garzon is already facing pressure form his country's chief prosecutor, Eduardo Fungairino, who is against the extradition of Pinochet.

Meanwhile the key ministers involved , Home Secretary Jack Straw and Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, emphasised that this was a matter for the courts to decide, not for politicians. However the Labour spin machine has already indicated that it may consider releasing the General on humanitarian grounds. The politicians are also concerned at the implications on British trade in the region and the polarising effects the arrest is having on Chilean society. Pro and anti Pinochet campaigners have been staging demonstrations in Santiago since Saturday's announcement of the General's arrest.

- Thatcher's comments cause consternation in Argentina
Yesterday's letter by ex-Premier Margaret Thatcher to the Times newspaper in which she voiced her support for the General - due to the help he gave during the Falklands War - has angered Argentineans. They accuse Thatcher of brewing up anti Argentinean hysteria in advance of the visit by their county's premier Carlos Menem to London next week.

Argentina is also reeling at the extent to which her neighbour, Chile, is alleged by Thatcher to have helped Britain during the 1982 conflict. Previously it was only speculation - albeit well grounded - that Pinochet's regime allowed UK special forces to operate from Southern Chile. She also alleges that the Chileans helped with intelligence, providing invaluable de-coding information to British forces. (23/10/98)

Thatcher Calls For Pinochet's Release
- Former premier says her friend the General saved hundreds of British lives in the Falklands War

MARGARET Thatcher, ex-UK Prime Minister, has written to the Times Newspaper calling for the immediate release of her friend General Augusto Pinochet.

Thatcher argues that the help Pinochet's regime gave Britain during the Falklands War should be taken into consideration in deciding his fate. The pair are mutual admirers and good friends and shared afternoon tea just 11 days before the octogenarian's arrest.

- Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon calls for US to release secret Chile files

Judge Baltasar Garzon, one of two Spanish judges leading the investigation into the General's activities, has called for the USA to release files relating to Chile. He has widened his inquiry beyond the events in Chile following the overthrow of Salvador Allende to include Pinochet's role in Operation Condor.

This top secret operation combined an international organisation of death and terror squads run collaboratively between the military governments of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay during the Seventies and Eighties. The US was fully aware of Condor and holds crucial files relating to the covert operation. The CIA will seek to obscure its part in the overthrow of the Allende government and subsequent support of Pinochet. (22/10/98)

UK's Chilean Exiles Seek Justice For Pinochet in English Courts
- Victims of General set to sue here and demand Scotland Yard to institute a British prosecution

CHILEAN exiles living in Britain have threatened to sue General Augusto Pinochet, the arrested ex-leader of their home country.

They will seek damages for the human rights abuses committed against his regime in the Seventies and Eighties. The Chileans are also demanding that Britain initiates criminal proceedings here in addition to those planned by Spanish authorities. They presented their demands to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Paul Condon at Scotland Yard, London, yesterday. The moves follow news from Spain that resistance to Pinochet's extradition is growing.

The arrest of Pinochet has brought mixed reaction from Chileans both here and in Chile itself. Our Talkback bulletin board has received dozens of messages, some supporting the General , others agreeing with his imminent prosecution. One North American wag even suggested that former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger should postpone any planned UK trips indefinitely - otherwise British Police could arrest him too, for his part in the violent overthrow of Allende's government. (21/10/98)

Thatcher's Welcome for Pinochet
- Mutual appreciation society of ousted ex-leaders: Former PM Margaret Thatcher had General over for tea 11 days ago

FORMER UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher entertained General Augusto Pinochet with afternoon tea eleven days ago in her Belgravia home.

The brutal two-some exchanged warm greetings as they met on her doorstep then went inside to reminisce on past times. Thatcher is eternally grateful for Pinochet's help during the Falklands War and is said to admire his policies of economic and political change - achieved with an iron fist. The General is a self confessed anglophile and adopted many of Thatcher's monetarist policies, including wholesale privatisation.

- Murder, Torture, Genocide: Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon expands list of charges
Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon has expanded the list of charges against General Pinochet, who is still being held in a London hospital. The murder count on the indictment has risen from 79 to 94 including a number of Britons who vanished after being arrested in Chile. In addition to murder charges, the 82 year old could also stand trial for torture and genocide during his infamous period in office.

- Jack Straw's Home Office usurped tacit Foreign Office approval for Pinochet's trip
Rumours abound that the Pinochet arrest fell foul of tacit Foreign Office approval for Pinochet's trip. It appears Jack Straw's Home Office - responsible for law and order - accepted the Spanish request to hold the General pending full extradition proceedings, despite Robin Cook's Foreign Office knowledge and 'approval' of the visit. Straw was vehemently opposed to the bloody coup in 1973 that removed elected Salvador Allende from power. (20/10/98)

General Pinochet Arrested in London
- Former Chilean leader held in city hospital
- Arrest follows Spanish extradition request
- Long term British ally Chile lodges formal protest

GENERAL Augusto Pinochet has been arrested by Police in London following an extradition request by Spain.

The 82 year old Chilean general, was leader of his country's armed forces until March 1998, having stepped down as head of state in 1990 following a referendum which removed him from power in return for immunity from prosecution. Pinochet seized power weeks after assuming control of the Chilean military. He ousted democratically elected socialist leader Salvador Allende and set about a reign of terror which while "stabilising" his country, also led to the deaths of thousands of political opponents.

Spain is seeking the extradition order in an attempt to try Pinochet for the murder of several Spanish citizens - many Chilean exiles - who were in opposition to his regime. The UK and Spain now enjoy a strong reciprocal extradition arrangement as fellow members of the European Union.

The news has had a mixed reaction in Chile. There have been demonstrations by supporters of the general outside the British embassy in the capital Santiago. Chile's President Frei has lodged a formal protest saying Chileans should only be tried in Chilean courts. Ironically Chile has long been seen as Britain's closest ally in South America. Radical Chileans have welcomed the move.

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