By MARA D. BELLABY
LONDON -- Spain's claim that more than 50 Spaniards were victims of Chilean
Gen. Augusto Pinochet's former military regime makes it the appropriate country to
try him, lawyers argued in a final push Thursday in Britain's highest court.
After 12 days of complex legal arguments, the House of Lords wrapped up
hearing to determine whether the arrest of the 83-year-old retired officer on charges
of grave human rights abuses should stand.
``We'll take time to consider this . . . and report our judgment in due
Chief Justice Nicolas Browne-Wilkinson announced.
Pinochet was taken into custody Oct. 16 in London on a Spanish warrant
that he ordered killings, torture and hostage-taking during his 17-year rule, which
began when he ousted elected Marxist President Salvador Allende in 1973.
Lawyer Alun Jones began his summation Wednesday, saying Britain's 1989
Extradition Act requires him to prove only that the charges against Pinochet are
extraditable crimes in Britain now -- not at the time they were allegedly committed.
On Thursday, he contended that since Spain was the location of one of Pinochet's
alleged acts of conspiracy to murder, that gave the country the right to prosecute
him for all related acts committed after that.
Pinochet's lawyers are fighting his arrest, arguing that international
and British laws
offer protection to former heads of state for acts committed while in power.
Copyright © 1999 The Miami Herald