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DECEMBER 9, 1998   12:00 Noon
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Human Rights Watch
In New York: Ken Roth 12122161201
In Paris: Reed Brody (cell phone) 33603269562
In Geneva: José Miguel Vivanco 41229598688, Room 724
In London: Urmi Shah 441717131995
 
British Decision on Pinochet Hailed
 
LONDON - December 9 - Human Rights Watch today hailed the decision by the British Home Secretary to allow extradition of Chilean ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet to go forward.

"This decision brings us one step closer to the day when Pinochet will have to answer for his terrible crimes," said Reed Brody, Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch, an international monitoring organization based in New York. "The wall of his impunity is tumbling down."

Brody applauded the British government's important step towards an "ethical foreign policy," which evidently gave weight to the arguments of Pinochet's victims against the claims of geopolitics and trade relations.

Brody noted that Straw's decision could still be challenged by Pinochet's lawyers in court. But he expressed the hope that any judicial review of Straw's decision would, like the House of Lords panel last month, deny Pinochet immunity from extradition.

"There's a growing international consensus, both legal and political, that those responsible for the worst atrocities must be punished," said Brody. "This is a tremendous birthday present to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights tomorrow."

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