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Monday, November 30, 1998 Published at 19:21 GMT


Pinochet told to leave hospital

Grovelands Priory: Focus for UK anti-Pinochet protests

General Augusto Pinochet has been told to leave the private London hospital where he has been convalescing from back surgery.

The Grovelands Priory Hospital in north London said he was fit and no longer required specialist medical care.

The pinochet File
"It is now the responsibility of General Pinochet's advisers to find alternative accommodation" said a hospital statement.

It said they hoped the general would leave "as quickly as possible".

The hospital added that it was stated in open court more than two weeks ago that the general was fit enough to appear at an initial bail hearing.

There have been suggestions that the UK Home Secretary, Jack Straw, could grant the 83-year old former dictator's release on grounds of ill health.

[ image: Insulza leaves the UK empty-handed]
Insulza leaves the UK empty-handed
The hospital statement came as Chilean Foreign Minister, Jose Miguel Insulza, arrived in Madrid to try to persuade Spain not to have the former Chilean leader extradited from Britain.

On arrival Mr Insulza said moves for General Pinochet's extradition were politically motivated.

During his visit he is due to meet Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and Foreign Minister, Abel Matutes, as well as a number of other leading politicians.

Daniel Schweimler: "Mr Insulza will receive a less than hospitable reception from the Spanish people"
He can also expect protests with thousands of Chilean exiles in Spain planning anti-Pinochet demonstrations during his visit.

'A legal matter'

Spanish Government has repeatedly said the case is a judicial matter, saying it will accept whatever decision Britain takes on the extradition.

The UK Government has taken a similar line. During talks earlier in Britain, Mr Insulza was told by ministers that they could not intervene in the legal process relating to General Pinochet's extradition.

He was told the matter was "not a matter for collective ministerial discussion".

The former Chilean military ruler is facing charges of torture, kidnapping and murder of Spanish citizens in Chile between 1973 and 1990.

No immunity

[ image: Pinochet supporters want him freed]
Pinochet supporters want him freed
The Law Lords ruled last week that he was not immune from prosecution despite being a former head of state.

Mr Straw must decide by 11 December whether to allow the extradition case to proceed.

He has said he will not be swayed by political considerations.

Mr Insulza has suggested that General Pinochet could stand trial in Chile if he were sent home, although the Chilean constitution promises him immunity.

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