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Spain: Other Leaders Won’t Be Tried

November 8, 1998

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ Attempts by dissident groups to have foreign leaders brought to trial in Spain have little hope of succeeding, Foreign Minister Abel Matutes was quoted as saying Sunday in a Madrid daily.

Dissident group’ hopes of bringing foreign leaders to court were buoyed Friday when the Spanish government agreed to ask Britain to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to be tried in Spain on charges of genocide, terrorism and torture during his rule from 1973 to 1990.

A Cuban exile group filed suit in Spain last week accusing Cuban leader Fidel Castro of genocide, terrorism and torture and others have asked for investigations of General Hugo Banzer of Bolivia and Morocco’s King Hassan, Matutes was quoted as saying in the ABC newspaper.

``Spanish law clearly recognizes jurisdictional immunity of heads of state and senior officials,″ said Matutes who is heading Monday for a three-day visit to Cuba.

Matutes stressed that the decision to seek extradition was a legal obligation of the Spanish government beyond its control.

``It is not a political decision, but just a fulfillment of the law, the government has limited itself to act as a messenger of the judicial authority,″ he said.

Chile responded to the extradition request by recalling his ambassador to Spain for consultations. The Chilean government, however, said that diplomatic ties with Madrid would not be broken or suspended.

Matutes said Spain hopes to quickly repair its relations with Chile.

``Both Chilean Foreign Minister Jose Miguel Insulza and myself want to preserve the two countries’ good relations,″ Matutes said.

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