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Declarations & Statements


Rt. Hon Jack Straw MP
Home Secretary
Home Office
50 Queens Anne's Gate
London SW1H 9AT

37-39 Great Guildford Street
London SE1 OES
Tel: 0171 261 9578
Fax: 0171 261 9291



Dear Mr Straw

Re. Pinochet's Health Report

We are writing to you regarding the statement made by the Home Office yesterday, announcing the likely decision to allow General Pinochet to return to Chile on grounds of ill health, following his medical examination.

Whilst we are not in favour of putting a dying man on trial, if General Pinochet is to escape justice for the heinous crimes against humanity he is charged with, then we should have more openness regarding the medical report.

You have stated that you will allow representations to be made in the next seven days from interested parties, however on what grounds can these representations be based if access to the report is denied. How can the prosecution challenge a decision without seeking the evidence given for his release? Surely if General Pinochet is too ill to face trial then the evidence will be clear to anyone who has access to it?

This was a medical examination requested by the Chilean government, executed by a team of Doctors whose findings will not be made available to the prosecution. They will not be available to the prosecution because General Pinochet has not allowed them to be. This does not appear to be a fair way of conducting a case concerning a man charged with torture and murder. If General Pinochet has the mental capacity to state, as recently as Christmas, that he will continue his senatorial duties on his return to Chile then he must bring into question the validity of the medical report. The only reason in law that will allow the extradition process to be stopped is if General Pinochet is considered not to have the mental capacity to understand the legal process. This does not appear to be the case at present, which is why the medical evidence needs to be made available immediately to all parties involved.

Mr straw we urge you to allow the medical report to be open to scrutiny by the prosecution.

In addition to this, as we are sure you are aware it is Britain's legal obligation under the 1998 Convention on torture to try General Pinochet ourselves if he is unfit for extradition.

Yours sincerely

Chile Committee Against Impunity

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