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Monday, October 26, 1998 Published at 15:23 GMT

Spanish connection: Families demand justice

Thousands of Spanish citizens sufferred during the dictatorship

General Pinochet's arrest in London has brought back painful memories for Spanish people whose friends and relatives disappeared during his dictatorship.

Duncan Kennedy reports on the Spanish victims of General Pinochet's rule
Laura de Soria has been mourning the fate of her husband, Carmelo Soria, for the past 22 years.

[ image: Carmelo Soria - murdered 22 years ago]
Carmelo Soria - murdered 22 years ago
He was abducted by the General's secret police on July 14 1976, and later murdered.

Until then, the couple believed they had escaped the worst of the general's excesses - some of their friends had been arrested over the preceding three years, but none had been killed.

And Carmelo Soria - whose status as a United Nations diplomat did not save him - was just one of over 3,000 documented disappearances under General Pinochet's rule.

Family at risk

The family still has its worries - the dangers for the Sorias who remain in Chile is renewed.

[ image: Pro-Pinochet sites are appearing on the internet]
Pro-Pinochet sites are appearing on the internet
Mrs Soria's daughter is under police protection and cannot go out alone without being threatened.

And similar threats against people who wanted General Pinochet arrested have started appearing on Internet sites.

The sites even publish lists of names of people in Chile who are said to be against the general.

Support at home

Demonstrations in Chile at the weekend suggest that the general still enjoys substantial support in the country.

But human rights groups say the country will never be at peace until the general answers for the crimes of the past.

"We cannot think of our society progressing without these responsibilities being addressed and the victims being compensated," said Andres Krakenberger, spokesperson for Spanish Amnesty International.

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