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British court hears appeal on Pin

Subject: British court hears appeal on   Pinochet extradition 

               British court hears appeal on
               Pinochet extradition

               International law should
               supersede English law,
               judges told

                    Human rights attorney allowed to
                    New pushes for extradition in
                    France, Germany 
                    Related stories and sites 

               LONDON (CNN) -- Lawyers pushing
               for the extradition of former Chilean dictator Augusto
Pinochet told a British
               appeals panel Thursday that international laws proscribing
crimes against
               humanity should supercede an English law protecting heads of
state from

               A five-judge panel, selected from among the House of Lords,
heard a second
               day of arguments Thursday in an appeal of an October 28
decision by a lower
               court that quashed an extradition request for Pinochet from
a Spanish magistrate.
               A decision isn't expected until at least next week. 

               The former Chilean leader, arrested last month in London
after undergoing spinal
               surgery, has been released from detention but was ordered to
remain in Britain
               until the case is decided. 

                                            Human rights attorney
                                            allowed to argue

                                            In an unusual move, the panel
of "law
                                            lords," which serves as the
highest court
                                            for England and Wales, agreed
to let a
                                            human rights lawyer argue for
                                            extradition Thursday. 

                                            Ian Brownlie represents Amnesty
                                            International as well as Sheila
Cassidy, a
                                            British doctor allegedly
tortured in Chile
                                            during Pinochet's rule, and two
sisters of
               William Beausire, a Briton who vanished in Chile in 1975. 

               "English public policy is clearly against recognizing
immunity for ... the torturous
               causing of deaths," Brownlie said. He called the Spanish
extradition warrant "a
               hopeful opening in the wall of impunity" surrounding the
82-year-old Pinochet. 

               Normally, only lawyers from the two opposing sides are
allowed to argue a case
               before the House of Lords. But the judges allowed Brownlie
to intervene after
               lawyers representing the Spanish government and British
prosecutors had
               finished their arguments. 

               On Monday, Pinochet's lawyers will begin arguing their case. 

               Lawyers pushing the case for Pinochet's extradition argued
that the crimes of
               which Pinochet is accused -- genocide, torture and terrorism
-- were well
               established as international crimes prior to his assumption
of power in a 1973
               military coup. 

               They also argued that because Britain is a signatory to
international conventions,
               those international laws should take precedence over
England's 1978 State
               Immunity Act, which the lower court said protected Pinochet
from extradition
               for his actions as a head of state. 

               The lawyers also argued that some of the crimes for which
Pinochet is being
               sought in Spain took place before he declared himself head
of state and before
               changes in the Chilean constitution designated him as the
country's official ruler. 

               New pushes for extradition
               in France, Germany

               Pinochet's Spanish accusers charge that
               as leader of the Chilean armed forces
               and head of the government from 1973
               to 1990, he gave orders to eliminate,
               torture and kidnap thousands of political
               opponents, including a number of

               In the wake of his arrest in London,
               other legal moves have been made
               against Pinochet by alleged victims of his
               rule in France, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium
and Luxembourg. 

               Lawyers for three French citizens who disappeared in Chile
during the Pinochet
               years have sent a letter to French Justice Minister
Elisabeth Guigou, asking that
               the government push for Pinochet's arrest in the event that
he is freed in England
               and stops in any other countries on his way back to Chile. 

               In Germany, four more complaints were filed against Pinochet
on Thursday, in
               an attempt to pressure Germany to demand his extradition.
There are now seven
               complaints in German courts, representing a total of nine

               Eight of the nine were Chilean citizens at the time they
allegedly became victims
               of human rights abuses by the Pinochet junta. All have since
gained German
               citizenship. The ninth person was a German citizen living in
Chile during the
               Pinochet years. 

                 Correspondent Richard Blystone and Reuters contributed to
this report.

               Related stories: 

                    Spain judge submits Pinochet extradition bid - November
3, 1998 
                    Prosecutors to appeal Pinochet ruling - November 2, 1998 
                    Pinochet reportedly invited to London by defense
ministry - October 31,

               Related sites: 

               Note: Pages will open in a new browser window 

                    Amnesty International on-line 
                         U.K./Chile: Pinochet -- The absence of immunity
for crimes against
                         humanity . . . 
                         U.K./Chile: the inescapable obligation of the
international community
                         . . . 
                    Houses of Parliament Home Page 
                         House of Lords home page 
                    International Law Association 
                    Chile Information Project: News 

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                                   endorsed by CNN Interactive.


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