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Wednesday, January 6, 1999 Published at 16:07 GMT


Pinochet supporters set up cash hotline

General Pinochet: New CD on sale

A fundraising campaign for General Augusto Pinochet has been set up by his supporters in Chile to help pay his mounting legal bills.

The pinochet File
General Pinochet, who has been under house arrest in London since October awaiting extradition proceedings, is already believed to have run up legal costs of around $1m.

The privately-run Pinochet Foundation has set up donation hotlines in Chile, and is also selling a compact disc in its drive to raise money to pay for the 83-year-old former military leader's defence.

People can make donations of $4-$21via four telephone lines in the capital, Santiago.

"Many thanks for co-operating in the defence of General Pinochet," a recorded message says when donors have finished making their pledge.

The foundation says its new campaign seeks to ensure the "best possible legal defence for the general". It had already raised $360,000, but its president, Luis Cortes, said that was not enough.

Going for a song

The compact disc, which is priced around $30, features a song by well-known Chilean composer Willy Bascunan.

It is said to be written from General Pinochet's perspective, describing his anguish at being kept away from his home country, and honouring him.

"I miss the trumpet ... with its reveille. But today, when I wake up, it's a different reality. I am in a foreign land," the lyrics say.

General Pinochet's wife, Lucia Hiriart, said in an interview with a Chilean newspaper last month that the family expected to suffer financial troubles as result of the case.

Most donations so far have come from private businessmen, who are believed to be helping to pay the rent on General Pinochet's mansion just outside London.

The British Law Lords are scheduled to meet on 18 January to reconsider whether the general has immunity from any extradition. He is wanted in Spain to face charges of torture and genocide during his 1973-1990 dictatorship.

An earlier ruling was set aside because one of the judges, Lord Hoffmann, failed to disclose his links with Amnesty International, one of the groups campaigning for the general's extradition.

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