Germany Renews Honecker Extradition Demand
MOSCOW (AP) _ German officials today said they would not oppose a decision to allow former East German leader Erich Honecker to leave the Chilean Embassy and seek treatment in a Moscow hospital.
But a German Embassy spokesman said if Honecker is well enough to travel, he should go directly to Germany where he is wanted on manslaughter charges.
″If he can be flown to Germany there is no point in going to a Russian hospital. There are hospitals in Germany as well,″ said spokesman Enno Barker.
Honecker has been in the Chilean Embassey in Moscow since Dec. 11, when the Russian government ordered him to leave its territory or face expulsion to Germany.
The 79-year-old Honecker - reportedly suffering from cancer and depression -is wanted by Germany in the deaths of more than 200 East Germans shot while trying to flee to the West before his government fell in 1989.
Barker said Honecker would need permission from Russian President Boris Yeltsin to leave the Chilean Embassy without being arrested.
″He has to ask Yeltsin to allow his treatment in a Russian hospital because the Russian government is committed to bringing Honecker to Germany as soon as he leaves the Chilean embassy,″ he said.
Chilean officials said it had no new information about Honecker’s health or possible transfer to a hospital.
Doctors who examined Honecker in the embassy said it was ″necessary to do further examinations″ on the former Communist leader, said the embassy’s press spokesman Gonzalo Garcia-Huidobro.
″The Chileans pretend that Honecker is sick and has to be transferred to a hospital in Moscow,″ German Foreign Ministry spokesman Hanns Schumacher said in Bonn. ″The important thing is that our request to retransfer him to Germany is not hampered.″
A German newspaper reported today that Chile wants the U.N. Human Rights Commission to decide whether Honecker should be extradited.
The Bild newspaper said Chilean officials made the proposal to Russian U.N. officials in New York.
The Chilean government, while saying Honecker does not qualify for political asylum, has stated that he can remain a ″guest″ in the embassy indefinitely. But acting Foreign Minister Vargas formally denied the Bild report, saying in Santiago today: ″There’s nothing to it.″
Honecker has asked for permission to travel to Chile to join his daughter, Sonja, who lives in the South American nation with her Chilean husband.