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Monday, October 26, 1998 Published at 16:56 GMT

Briton William Beausire 'returns' to haunt Pinochet

[ image: William Beausire]
William Beausire
The last anyone heard of William Beausire was on 2 July 1975. Witnesses reported seeing secret police officers taking him from a building in Iran Street, Santiago.

He was just one of the hundreds who disappeared during General Pinochet's rule in Chile.

Yet it is a name which the 82-year-old former dictator could be plagued by as he remains under arrest in the London Clinic.

The pinochet File
Because Mr Beausire had a British passport, his case could play a crucial role for those wanting to bring Gen Pinochet to justice.

Lawyers acting for Mr Beausire's sisters are lodging papers with Scotland Yard, claiming that Gen Pinochet committed crimes under English law.

The significance of this is that even if a bid by Spain to extradite Gen Pinochet is unsuccessful, he could be prosecuted in Britain.

Human rights lawyer Geoffrey Bindman, who is acting for the Beausire family, is alleging that Gen Pinochet falls foul of the 1988 Criminal Justice Act, which was introduced to enact the International Convention Against Torture into UK law.

[ image: Attorney General John Morris: will decide on private prosecution]
Attorney General John Morris: will decide on private prosecution
As well as asking Scotland Yard to investigate, Mr Bindman is asking the Attorney General, John Morris, for permission to launch a private prosecution.

Ironically, the convention - which Mr Bindman said required states to ensure that any torturers who came into their jurisdiction were tried - was signed while Lady Thatcher was prime minister. She has called for Gen Pinochet to be released.

William Beausire - the victim

William Beausire was a stockbroker, who was actually a right-winger, Mr Bindman said.

"He was a businessmen, and he wasn't particularly hostile to Pinochet, that's the bizarre thing," he said.

William Beausire had a British father and a Chilean mother, and had dual nationality. He and his two sisters grew up in Chile.

It is thought he was a target because his sister Mary Ann did oppose the regime, and lived with Andres Pascal Allende, the nephew of deposed Chilean leader Salvador Allende. It is thought William Beausire was targeted in an attempt to find out where Mary Ann and Andres Pascal were.

He was abducted in November 1974 at an airport in Argentina, from where he was taken back to Chile. Amnesty International, which has campaigned on his behalf for the last 20 years, says 14 independent witnesses have supplied information about what happened to him over the next nine months.

He was taken to offices of the Direccion de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA, the secret police) at Jose Domingo Canas Street, where his mother and sister Diana were being interrogated.

From there he was taken to Villa Grimaldi, where witnesses say he was given electric shocks, had sticks forced into his rectum, and was hung in the air.

On 17 May 1975 he was taken to Iran Street. DINA officers were seen taking him away on 2 July, and nothing was heard of him since then.

The search

His mother, Ines Beausire, and Diana started a fruitless search for him. In June 1976 the UK Government referred the case to the United Nations.

It is now accepted that William Beausire is dead, but for all his family actually know, he could still be alive. Both of his parents are now dead.

Mr Bindman visited Chile in 1979 for Amnesty International to investigate, and brought a case against two DINA officers who had been identified as being among Mr Beausire's torturers.

"That case ran into the ground, but we have tried various things since then, including trying to get Gen Pinochet arrested in 1994 when he came to Britain for a day and a half," Mr Bindman said.

That attempt was unsuccessful, as Gen Pinochet left the country before anything could be done.

But it seems Mr Beausire's remaining family have a better chance of reaching their goal this time.

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