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Wednesday, 5 January, 2000, 15:30 GMT
Q & A: Too ill to be tried?



The BBC's legal affairs correspondent Joshua Rozenberg explains the latest developments in the Pinochet case.

Why is General Pinochet having a health check?
The Home Secretary Jack Straw decided that he should undergo a full clinical examination after receiving representations from the Chilean government. It's known General Pinochet suffered the first of a series of minor strokes last September.

How could the outcome affect extradition proceedings?
The pinochet File
If Mr Straw tells General Pinochet's lawyers he thinks the former dictator is too ill to be extradited, they may abandon the appeal which is due to be heard in March. The General might still face torture charges in England, but he would then argue he was too ill to stand trial there either.

What discretion does the Home secretary Jack Straw have?
He has a broad 'general' discretion to reject an application for extradition.

How does this affect the court case?
If these moves are successful, the court case would be at an end.

When are we likely to see a decision?
It will be a few days before the hospital receives the test results. The doctors will then take some time to prepare their reports and these will have to be considered by the Home Secretary. No decision seems likely for at least a couple of weeks.
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See also:
05 Jan 00 |  UK
Health check for Pinochet
08 Oct 99 |  UK
Q & A: What next for Pinochet?
05 Jan 00 |  Medical notes
Health and ageing
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