Letter: Pinochet's friends

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The Independent Culture
Sir: It is unfortunate that Baroness Thatcher has chosen to persist with her campaign for Pinochet to escape justice ("Thatcher says Pinochet was victimised", 7 July) and in pursuit of this goal continues to avoid the real issue - the fact that Pinochet is accused of crimes against humanity.

You report that Lady Thatcher fears that Pinochet's arrest has damaged the UK's reputation. On the contrary, Pinochet's arrest and the House of Lords' refusal to grant him immunity and Jack Straw's decision to allow the case to continue, represent a milestone in the development of international human rights law and show that the UK has not put politics before justice. This is something of which we in the UK should be proud.

The Chilean government has acknowledged that under Pinochet's rule 3,197 people were tortured, "disappeared" and were murdered by government forces, including the secret police, which reported directly to Pinochet. We must now not allow these victims to be airbrushed out of the story.

MARK LATTIMER

Amnesty International UK

London EC1

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