Straw rejects medical grounds to approve Pinochet extradition

"Sitting next to the fireplace with an attitude of confident and innocent expectation, the Colonel experienced the feeling that fungus and poisoned lilies were taking root in his gut. It was October. A difficult morning to get through, even for a man like himself…"
The invidious opening paragraph of 'No one writes to the Colonel' from the pen of Latin America's most celebrated living novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

In a curious case of life imitating art it may well also be an apt description of how General Augusto Pinochet of Chile felt on Saturday, October 17 following his arrest the previous night at the London Harley Street clinic. Two and a half months later, the Pinochet affair remarkably dominates international affairs, perpetuated by an unpredictable sequence of events that have brought hope and joy to many, anger and indignation to others and surprise to everyone.

The latest development is that the worst-case scenario possible for Pinochet's exiles and human rights activists across the world has emerged.

Lord Hoffmann, upon whom the decision rested to extradite the General, failed to mention his affiliation with Amnesty International resulting in the Lord's decision being overturned. A re-trial has subsequently been set for Friday, January 8 next year.