The New York Times
October 17, 1998

          Britain Arrests Chile's Pinochet

          By The Associated Press

          LONDON (AP) -- Former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet,
          whose 17-year rule was marked by human rights abuses and a climate of
          fear, was under arrest Saturday in the deaths, detention and torture of
          Spanish citizens.

          Responding to a Spanish extradition warrant, British police arrested
          Pinochet on Friday for questioning about allegations that he murdered an
          unidentified number of Spaniards in Chile between Sept. 11, 1973, the
          year he seized power, and Dec. 31, 1983. No reason for the dates was

          Chile said it would protest to British authorities, arguing that the
          82-year-old senator-for-life has diplomatic immunity. But Britain said he
          does not, and Prime Minister Tony Blair's office said it was ``a matter for
          the magistrates and the police.''

          Pinochet, whose ruthless regime ended eight years ago and was widely
          criticized for its human rights record, was recovering from surgery in a
          London clinic when he was held Friday night.

          No hearing date has been set.

          Scotland Yard refused to reveal Pinochet's whereabouts, but his Santiago
          spokesman, Fernando Martinez, said he was in a London clinic when
          police came for him. A regular visitor to Britain, Pinochet underwent
          surgery Oct. 9 for a herniated disc, a spinal disorder that has caused him
          pain and hampered his walking in recent months.

          Police officers in flak jackets accompanied by a support vehicle were
          stationed outside the London Clinic in central London where he is
          rumored to be. Official at the clinic refused to comment.

          In a statement issued in Porto, Portugal, where President Eduardo Frei
          was attending the Ibero American summit, the Chilean government said it
          is ``filing a formal protest with the British government for what it considers
          a violation of the diplomatic immunity which Sen. Pinochet enjoys.''

          The statement, read by acting foreign minister Mariano Fernandez,
          demanded ``that steps be taken to allow an early end of this situation.''
          Chile has previously said it does not recognize the authority of foreign
          courts over incidents within Chile.

          Spanish Foreign Minister Abel Matutes, also attending the Ibero
          American summit, said his government ``respects the decisions taken by

          British law recognizes two types of immunity: state immunity, which
          covers heads of state and government members on official visits, and
          diplomatic immunity for persons accredited as diplomats.

          Jeremy Corbyn, a lawmaker from Britain's governing Labor Party,
          applauded the arrest. ``It will be the first time this ghastly dictator has
          faced questions,'' he told Sky television. ``He is one of the great
          murderers of this century.''

          Richard Bunting of the human rights group Amnesty International, which
          has frequently criticized Pinochet, said the British government was ``under
          obligation to take legal action'' against him.

          It was not clear which clinic was treating Pinochet, who turns 83 next
          week. Staff at the London Bridge Hospital, where he reportedly had
          surgery, refused to comment. He has a pacemaker and hearing aid, but is
          generally in good health.

          Baltasar Garzon, one of two Spanish magistrates handling investigations
          into human rights violations in Chile and Argentina, filed a request to
          question Pinochet on Wednesday, a day after another judge, Manuel
          Garcia Castellon, filed a similar petition.

          Castellon's probe into murder, torture and disappearances in Chile during
          Pinochet's regime began in 1996. Garzon is also investigating the
          disappearance of hundreds of Spanish citizens in Argentina during the
          1976-83 military dictatorships.

          Pinochet is implicated in Garzon's probe through his involvement in
          ``Operation Condor,'' in which military regimes in Chile, Argentina and
          Uruguay coordinated anti-leftist campaigns

          Pinochet, the son of a customs clerk who ousted elected President
          Salvador Allende in a bloody 1973 coup, remained commander-in-chief
          of the Chilean army until March, when he was sworn in as a
          senator-for-life, a post established for him in a constitution drafted by his

          While in power he also pushed through an amnesty covering crimes
          committed before 1978, when most of his human rights abuses allegedly
          took place. One official report says 3,197 political opponents died during
          his term and 1,102 people remain unaccounted for after being detained by
          his security agents.