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Tuesday, 7 March, 2000, 18:32 GMT
Thatcher 'should face medical tests'
Lady Thatcher
Lady Thatcher says Pinochet was staunch ally of UK
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher needs her head examined for the comments she made during the Pinochet affair, a senior Spanish government minister has said.

"I think that at her age Mrs Thatcher (74) has equal need of medical examination," said Foreign Minister Abel Matutes.

General Augusto Pinochet
General Pinochet could still stand trial in Chile
He was referring to the medical tests which declared former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet mentally unfit to stand trial in Spain on human rights abuse charges.

The General returned to Chile last Friday when UK Home Secretary Jack Straw decided he was unfit for trial.

He was detained in London in October 1998 when Spanish Magistrate Baltasar Garzon issued a warrant for his extradition to Spain, accusing General Pinochet's regime of genocide, torture and terrorism.
The pinochet File


Just before his departure from the UK, Lady Thatcher gave General Pinochet a copy of a silver plate.

It was first produced in 1588 to mark England's victory over the Spanish Armada and was to celebrate what she described as his victory over "Spanish judicial colonialism."

But Mr Matutes said on Tuesday: "There was no victory over Spanish judicial colonialism."

He insisted the British courts had co-operated fully with Spain and that the decision to allow General Pinochet to fly back to Chile had been made by Mr Straw "on medical grounds."

'Disgraceful'

He called on Lady Thatcher to reflect more carefully before speaking out again.

The former prime minister has described General Pinochet as the UK's "staunch ally" during the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina.

She was one of the former dictator's most vocal supporters during his 17-month house arrest.

Mr Matutes said he hoped to receive information from the Chilean government that would allow Spain to become a party to possible proceedings in Chile against the former dictator.

He also described the military reception for General Pinochet on his arrival back in Chile as "disgraceful" and "unacceptable".

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See also:

25 Feb 00 |  UK Politics
Thatcher 'spied on ministers'
08 Dec 99 |  UK Politics
Rapid reaction to Thatcher attack
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