Six weeks after the arrest in London of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the pressure on the administration of US President Clinton to indict the former Chilean dictator for murders his secret police committed here 22 years ago is mounting steadily.
The prosecution of Pinochet, whose name became a virtual synonym for state-sponsored terror during his seventeen-year regime, has become a historic turning point for international and national efforts to hold him and other tyrants accountable.
With Pinochet's recent arrest in London, the US authorities should determine whether or not the evidence against the 'senator-for-life' has now reached a level at which his indictment in the Letelier case is appropriate.
Treading into a political and diplomatic confrontation it tried to avoid, the US has decided to declassify some secret government documents on the killing and torture conducted by the former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet.
Those who brought the suit against Pinochet, in and outside Chile, hope that the case might allow some measure of belated justice and ease the pain they continue to suffer as a result of the dictator's atrocities.
Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who ruled Chile as a despot for 17 years, has been arrested in London after Spain asked that he be extradited for the presumed murders of hundreds of Chilean and Spanish citizens.
Whether former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is extradited to Spain will depend in the final analysis on a political decision by Spain's centre-right head of government, Jose Maria Aznar, say legal experts.
Judge Garzón, who works as an investigating magistrate rather than a judge on the bench, took more than five months to conclude that a Spanish court could have jurisdiction in the case against Pinochet.