Letter: Pinochet's destiny

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Sir: The 20th century has seen a steady stream of dictators who murdered their own people. The worst of these, Hitler and Stalin, are now beyond human justice. At least three, however, have lost power but have been granted safe haven. Idi Amin of Uganda and Colonel Mengistu of Ethiopia are safely out of reach. General Pinochet is not. Surely we have a high moral obligation to help bring one of these monsters to justice whenever it is in our power to do so.

It is rare that a democracy can act purely out of moral imperatives. Aiding in the extradition of this evil man cannot possibly be of any political advantage to this Labour Government. On the contrary, Baroness Thatcher has given persuasive reasons why this action would hurt Britain politically. That is all the more reason for praising the courage of the ministers who could have just as easily turned a blind eye and let the general return peacefully to the scene of his butchery.

This surely is the time to ignore practical politics and do what is right. And if, against the odds, General Pinochet is given the justice he deserves, some future butcher might think twice before engaging in wholesale murder.


London WC1