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Son Appeals for Pinochet’s Release

August 10, 1999

LONDON (AP) _ Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s son has appealed for his father’s release from British custody after a medical report concluded that the general is in poor health, a British newspaper reported Tuesday.

Pinochet, 83, was arrested Oct. 16 during a London visit on the orders of Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, who wants the general tried for alleged human rights abuses during his 1973-90 dictatorship.

``My father needs to go back to Chile and if he has to face a trial there then so be it,″ Marco Antonio Pinochet, the ex-dictator’s younger son, was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph.

``My father is a diabetic and is losing the feeling in his hands and feet,″ the son added. ``The doctors say he is in danger of not being able to walk at all if something is not done soon to relieve the stress he is under.″

Chile’s Foreign Ministry said last week that it was seeking Pinochet’s release on health grounds.

The ministry said a British doctor and a Chilean doctor examined Pinochet, who lives under police guard at a rented mansion west of London, and concluded he has life-threatening medical problems.

The medical report ordered by the Chilean government said Pinochet has 12 illnesses including diabetes, heart disease, prostate problems, arthritis of the left knee and mild asthma, the Telegraph said.

The report was signed by Helmuth Hernandez, Pinochet’s personal doctor, and by a doctor who has been treating him in Britain, the paper said, and the Chilean Embassy has passed it on to the British government.

Pinochet has failed in a series of court cases to get immunity, as a former head of state, from prosecution in Britain and is due to appear at an extradition hearing Sept. 27. France and Switzerland also have lodged extradition requests.

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