The Rt. Hon.
Jack Straw, MP
Secretary of State for Home Affairs
Home Office
50 Queen Anne's Gate
London SW1H 9AT

Dear Secretary of State,
We know how delicate your position is and what pressures are exerted on you from all sides. Yet we cannot accept that you consider releasing Sr Pinochet on grounds of his poor health. What precedence is there for a war criminal to be released because he may not stand the strain of a trial?
Sr Pinochet would be released on compassionate grounds, thus depriving his victims and theirs relatives and friends, or citizens of the world, of ever seeing justice done, while those he had tortured and assassinated never had the benefit of either compassion or a fair trial.
Besides, we are convinced that the "humanitarian" question raised about Sr Pinochet has already been answered in so far as Spanish Penal Law has established sufficiently comfortable forms of emprisonment for people over 70 and we consequently consider that no additional measure is called for on the part of British authorities to meet this demand for compassion.
So far we had admired your unwavering support to the cause of justice. Yet, as you now win Mrs Thatcher's approval, you  may be condemning Pinochet's victims and the relatives and friends of those he had killed to renewed moral torture, in a most literal sense (cf. European Court for Human Rights, case of "Kurt vs. Turkey" - 25 May 1998), a torture that has already lasted for 25 years and in some cases has gravely impaired the survivors' health. It still seems to us that the only possibility for Justice to be done is for the former dictator to be tried in Spain. We would have preferred a trial in Chile, but whatever the current government now claims, it seems impossible under the present circunstances  (cf. the report produced by the International Federation of the Leagues of Human Rights - March 1999). Any suggestion that he should be tried either by the International Penal Tribunal or in Chile is a dilatory move that would result in removing him from the hold of European Justice. Besides, we cannot quite understand why he should be too frail to stand a trial in Spain, but not to face a transtlantic flight and a trial in Chile.
We therefore trust that you will resume your former position and support the demand for Sr Pinochet to be tried. Human Rights are not patient of a third way. They demand Truth and Justice.

Yours sincerely,


ŠTxori-Herri Medical Association 1997-2000