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U.K. Ruling on Pinochet Praised

Straw Urged to Forego Appeal

(London) - Human Rights Watch today welcomed a U.K. High Court ruling that Home Secretary Jack Straw should divulge details of the medical examination of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to the four states that are seeking his extradition. Human Rights Watch called on Straw to abide by the ruling and release the medical data.

"Today's ruling is a victory for fairness, transparency and the rights of Pinochet's victims," said Wilder Tayler, General Counsel for Human Rights Watch. "We call on Jack Straw not to delay this process any longer, but to turn over the medical records or allow the extradition process to go forward."

Human Rights Watch had joined with five other groups to seek a judicial review preventing the British home secretary from releasing Pinochet without taking certain basic steps of procedural fairness. The Belgian government had sought a similar review.

The international human rights organization had expressed its objections on three main grounds: that the medical examination was cursory and performed by non-specialists; that the results of the medical examination have not been shared with interested parties; that there has been no public hearing on this matter of vital public interest.

The five organizations joining Human Rights Watch in filing this application are Amnesty International, The Redress Trust, the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, the Association of the Relatives of Disappeared Persons, and Justicia.

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