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General Pinochet

Volume 597: debated on Wednesday 10 February 1999

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether letters addressed to General Pinochet being carried by members of his staff were opened by Special Branch on Tuesday 29 December 1998; if so, why; and who gave the authorisation. [HL595]

I refer the noble Lord to the reply given to a Question from him on 2 February (Official Report, Vol. 596, col. WA 201). My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has received an assurance from the Metropolitan Police that no searches were undertaken by their officers in this case nor were any letters opened.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the Home Secretary will instigate regular medical reports on the effects of detention on General Pinochet. [HL896]

It is not for the Home Secretary to instigate regular medical reports. He took a decision, on 9 December, to issue an Authority to Proceed. The case has been passed to the Bow St. Magistrate, pending a decision by the House of Lords on immunity. The Home Secretary will consider reports on Senator Pinochet's health if and when he comes to exercise his final discretion under Section 12 of the Extradition Act 1989 at the end of the extradition process.