Letter: Send him to Spain

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Patricia Ann Wilson asks whether the "Spanish should be the ones to judge another on the matter of crimes against humanity" (letter, 4 December). She makes an ill-advised and offensive comparison between the Spanish people of the late 20th century and General Pinochet. Ms Wilson must believe that Spain remains unchanged since Pizarro and Cortes.

Acts against the indigenous peoples of North America, Africa, India and Australia by Britain, which in some instances continued well into this century, were, if anything, even more shameful.

The degree of autonomy granted to the Basque country since the death of Franco in 1976 (such as fiscal autonomy and its own police force), far exceeds that which is enjoyed in Northern Ireland or which is planned for Scotland and Wales. Ms Wilson seems unaware that the vast majority of the Basques wish to remain Spanish and are supportive of the fight against ETA.

If it was not for the foresight of a Spanish judge not only would we now not be engaging in a debate over where Pinochet should be tried but he would now be back in Santiago happily enjoying a Chilean summer. The Spanish courts should be congratulated for their courage.

I for one am far happier for Pinochet to be tried under Spanish jurisdiction than in a country such as the UK with such close ties of friendship and commerce with Chile.