Tuesday, December 8, 1998 Published at 04:06 GMT
Pinochet judge has Amnesty links
The Law Lords: "No question" their decision will be overturned
One of the judges who ruled that General Augusto Pinochet does not have immunity from extradition to Spain, has links with the human rights organisation Amnesty International, it has been reported.
But BBC Legal Affairs Correspondent Joshua Rozenburg says there is "no question" of reopening last month's ruling by the five Law Lords.
In fact, Amnesty says it is impossible for the judge to be involved in their campaigning, because it would contravene its charitable status.
However, lawyers for General Pinochet have already requested that Home Secretary Jack Straw overturn the law lord's decision because Lord Hoffman's wife, Gillian, is an administrative assistant with Amnesty.
Mr Straw is currently deliberating on Spain's extradition request and is expected to deliver his decision at the end of the week.
General Pinochet's lawyers may try to base an appeal on the fact that the five law lords took representations from a number of human rights groups - including Amnesty - during hearings that helped them reach their three-two decision.
He added that Lord Hoffman's position was in any case "considered perfectly consistent with the role of a judge" and was a "matter of public record".
This fresh controversy coincides with a group of General Pinochet's supporters arriving in the UK to take a petition for his release to the Home Office.
He was arrested during a visit to London for back surgery in October at the request of Spanish judges.
They want him to face trial for the crimes of torture, terrorism and genocide, allegedly committed during his reign as president of Chile from 1973 to 1990.