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Shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe
"What I see is an enormous contradiction"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 5 January, 2000, 11:17 GMT
New talks on Kalejs

Konrad Kalejs: Days to appeal against deportation

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook is to hold talks on Wednesday to consider how to bring the suspected Nazi war criminal Konrad Kalejs to justice once he has left the UK.

Deportation proceedings have begun against the Latvian-born Australian, although it has now emerged his visa does not expire on Thursday as previously thought.

Jack Straw: Ordered suspected war criminal to leave
The Home Office has revealed Mr Kalejs entered Britain on a six-month visa in September and can remain under it until March.

But he has been given until 9 January to make representations to Home Secretary Jack Straw against the decision to deport him. Unless he attempts to appeal the ruling, he will be automatically deported.

Scotland Yard is continuing its investigations into claims that Mr Kalejs took part in war crimes against Jews in Latvia, but decided it did not have enough evidence to arrest him as campaigners had demanded.

Despite this, the foreign secretary will meet Lord Janner, chairman of the Holocaust Education Trust, to discuss how to assist international efforts to bring Mr Kalejs to justice.

Widdecombe damns 'contradictions'

Shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe on Wednesday attacked the "enormous contradiction" in the handling of allegations against General Augusto Pinochet and suspected Nazi war criminal Konrad Kalejs.

Mr Kalejs remained in the United Kingdom on Wednesday morning when the former Chilean dictator went for medical checks to determine if he is fit to stand trial.

Miss Widdecombe condemned the home secretary's decision in the case against Mr Kalejs as a fudge and sought to contrast it with his other recent judicial decisions.

"On the one hand, you've got General Pinochet imprisoned, the full rigours of the law imposed despite his medical condition," she said.

Yet former Soviet spy and great-grandmother Melita Norwood escaped prosecution despite her public confession, Miss Widdecombe noted.

"And now we arrive at Kalejs and you've got a half-way house whereby the home secretary is taking the extraordinary position of saying I haven't got enough evidence to actually do anything so I think I'll deport him."

Just because insufficient evidence might exist before a trial to guarantee a conviction did not mean all attempts to pursue justice should be abandoned, the Tory spokeswoman said.

"I think there is a real danger of getting into a mindset that says unless you can guarantee a conviction you shouldn't go ahead.

General Pinochet: Medical checks
"In the case of a cold war spies, we actually had public admission. In the case of Kalejs we've got very serious allegations."

But despite arguing for firmer action on these cases, Miss Widdecombe said she remained of the opinion General Pinochet should be allowed to return to Chile.

He is currently fighting a protracted battle against extradition to Spain where he could face charges related to human rights abuses during his period of president of the South American nation.

"I think this should have been at the start a matter for the people of Chile. If you look across the world at the moment, you've got countries that have emerged from difficult peace process, that have emerged from difficult regimes, who've had to swallow things they have not liked in the interests of peace and getting a final settlement.

"We've had that experience in Northern Ireland. I think it should have been for Chile, but given that the process has started we must now abide by the decisions of courts."

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See also:
03 Jan 00 |  UK
Nazi suspect set to leave
03 Jan 00 |  UK
Konrad Kalejs: Target for Nazi hunters
03 Jan 00 |  UK
Australia to accept Nazi suspect

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