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Sunday, 30 January, 2000, 03:47 GMT
Chilean plane waits for Pinochet

General Pinochet: Awaiting decisions in the courts

A Chilean airforce plane is waiting at an RAF airfield in the UK in the expectation that former dictator General Augusto Pinochet will be allowed to return home.

The Boeing 707 landed at RAF Brize Norton, in Oxfordshire, on Saturday, after flying in from Bermuda.

The pinochet File
It had been waiting on the Atlantic island in anticipation of the release of General Pinochet, who has been under house arrest in the UK for the last 15 months.

He was arrested after Spain asked for him to be extradited on as charges of torture and conspiracy arising from his 16-year rule in Chile.

UK Home Secretary Jack Straw has said he is "minded" to release the general after a panel of medical experts decided he was unfit to stand trial.

But the former dictator must await the result of a number of legal challenges before he can fly home.

Belgium, one of three other countries seeking Pinochet's extradition, and six human rights organisations have requested leave for a judicial review of Mr Straw's proposal.

London's High Court is due to rule on their request on Monday.

Chile lawsuit

Mr Straw has said he will not give his final decision until the legal process is completed.

The challenge in the High Court by the human rights groups is being made on three grounds:

  • that the general procedures used by the home secretary to reach his decision were not fair.
  • that there was a failure to disclose details of the medical reports meaning parties were not able to challenge the findings.
  • Concern over the choice of experts to conduct the medical tests on the general.

Meanwhile, more than 600 former political prisoners in Chile have filed a lawsuit against General Pinochet, accusing him of torture.

This is the 59th lawsuit submitted in Chile against General Pinochet.

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See also:
27 Jan 00 |  UK Politics
Belgium justifies Pinochet challenge
23 Jan 00 |  Health
How ill is Pinochet?
12 Jan 00 |  Americas
Chile treads carefully around ruling
18 Jan 00 |  Europe
Pinochet not the priority in Chile
26 Jan 00 |  Europe
Why Belgium cares about Pinochet
21 Jan 00 |  Europe
Straw pressured over Pinochet report
29 Jan 00 |  Americas
Ex-prisoners accuse Pinochet of torture

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