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.
The Transnational Institute (TNI) joins human rights activists, the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and legal experts in demanding the office of the British Home Secretary re-evaluate its decision regarding the medical state of former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet.
The Institute for Policy Studies applauds the arrest of Chilean General Augusto Pinochet, whose regime ordered the assassination of two IPS colleagues, Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt, in 1976 and carried out other documented acts of international terrorism.
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.
As Augusto Pinochet continues to fight extradition from England to face charges of crimes against humanity, the historical record of US support for the former Chilean dictator remains disappeared, like so many victims of his violent regime.
While recently declassified documents are conspicuously lacking in information about the US role in helping Pinochet take and consolidate power, they are rich in detail about the inner workings of his bloody regime.
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.
The argument over what action to take against Saddam Hussein is driven by the rhetoric of war. But can peaceful, legal action against Iraq's ruthless dictator be effective? The long campaign to bring Augusto Pinochet of Chile to justice offers an encouraging precedent.
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.
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.