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Sunday, January 17, 1999 Published at 18:41 GMT


Protest against Pinochet

Anti-Pinochet protesters marched through London wearing masks

Chilean exiles from all over Europe have gathered in London for a demonstration against the country's former dictator, General Augusto Pinochet.

The pinochet File
The 'March for Justice' had been expected to be the biggest anti-Pinochet event yet to take place yet in the UK and ended with a rally in Trafalgar Square.

The general is being held in the UK, awaiting possible extradition proceedings and Monday's new House of Lords hearing into the affair.

BBC Correspondent Cary Johnston: Anti-Pinochet demonstrators were out in force
More than 1,000 people attended the demonstration calling for him to face extradition to Spain to answer charges of genocide and torture.

Many were Chileans, who marched past the UK Parliament buildings carrying their national flag.

[ image: Protesters demanded extradition]
Protesters demanded extradition
They were led by five demonstrators carrying a banner saying: "Extradite Pinochet" and wearing blank white masks meant to represent the disappeared.

At Trafalgar Square protesters hung banners on the base of Nelson's Column before one of the speakers, Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, told them of his joy at last October's London arrest of the general.

"What a great day! What justice for human rights," he said.

The MP also told the cheering crowd he believed the Law Lords would rule against Pinochet for a second time and allow extradition proceedings to commence.

[ image: Raymond Paredes, whose father died in Chile]
Raymond Paredes, whose father died in Chile
Raymond Paredes, whose father was chief of police in Chile before General Pinochet came to power, came from Sweden for the demonstration.

He told the BBC how his father had been killed: "He was tortured for three days. They broke every bone in his body and they burnt him to death with a flame-thrower.

"We found his remains in 1995 and the autopsy showed this. It also showed that they had spared his head so he was conscious during this terrible torture," he said.

Pinochet speaks as judge flies in

On Sunday, a British newspaper quoted the 83-year-old general as saying he expected to die in the UK.

BBC News 24's Damian Grammaticus with two demonstrators
Meanwhile, the Spanish judge seeking the general's extradition was expected to fly into the UK on Sunday amid heavy security after receiving death threats from extremist supporters of the former dictator.

[ image: Judge Garzon has received death threats]
Judge Garzon has received death threats
Details of Judge Baltasar Garzon's flight were not being released for security reasons.

The judge is expected to attend Monday's Law Lords hearing, which is expected to last at least a week, but will not actually address the panel of seven lords.

The hearing is the second time the Law Lords, England's highest court, have been asked to rule on whether Pinochet's arrest in London in October at the request of Judge Garzon was legal.

The first time the judges ruled against Pinochet the decision was set aside after it emerged that one of their number, Lord Hoffmann, had links to Amnesty International which has campaigned against Pinochet's human rights abuses during his 17-year dictatorship in Chile.

Judge Garzon, voted man of the year by several Spanish newspapers, is not expected to speak publicly during his visit to Britain.

A popular but controversial figure in Spain for his ability to tackle headline-grabbing cases, the judge prefers to let his formidable reputation talk for him and outside of his courtroom and legal chambers is described as "extremely reticent".

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