Friday, October 8, 1999 Published at 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
Q & A: What next for Pinochet?
Does the latest ruling mean General Pinochet is closer to being extradited?
What can still prevent his extradition?
General Pinochet can appeal against the magistrate's ruling in the High Court, and possibly then to England's highest court, the House of Lords. His lawyers have 15 days from the date of the ruling to decide whether to appeal. If an appeal is lodged and fails, the case then goes to the home secretary for his decision which itself could be challenged in the courts.
If he is extradited, what charges would he actually have to face?
He can only be tried in Spain on the charges for which the courts here have agreed he can be extradited. There are 35 charges in total. One of a conspiracy with others to carry out torture and 34 individual charges of torture. The crimes are alleged to have been carried out against the general's political opponents in the last two years of his dictatorship.
Why is it all dragging on for so long?
General Pinochet was arrested in London on 16 October 1998. It has taken so long because he has used the legal process to challenge the extradition from the very start. He originally tried to get the case thrown out on the grounds that he had immunity from extradition because he was a former head of state. It was only when he lost that battle that the case could go back to the magistrate to consider the extradition.
How is it likely to end?
It is very difficult to predict, but if General Pinochet's health deteriorates still further, that will increase the pressure on the home secretary to release him.