Pinochet in hospital for tests on brain

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THE FORMER Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet was taken to hospital for a brain scan yesterday. Sources said his health had been "causing concern". The general, 83, was driven from his rented mansion on the Wentworth estate in Surrey to Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, under police escort.

The general has been plagued by health problems during his enforced stay in Britain, and has had several medical checks.

He was in a private clinic in London recovering from back surgery when he was arrested in October last year, at the request of a Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon. The judge is investigating charges that General Pinochet presided over human rights abuses during his dictatorship from 1973 to 1990.

A protracted legal battle over Judge Garzon's extradition request is continuing and aformal hearing is to begin, in General Pinochet's absence, at Bow Street magistrates' court, London, on 27 September.

An adviser to the general said he was not in imminent danger. The brain scan was part of a series of tests that were likely to become more frequent, he said.

"There are problems with the heart, he is diabetic and he has been suffering from a certain amount of depression. That is not surprising.

"Anyone of his age who has been locked up as he has is going to find it difficult."