``Spain's National Court has ruled that it is competent to investigate crimes of genocide, terrorism and torture in the case against Pinochet,'' said Guillermo Alonso Olarra, a lawyer for the Miami-based Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba. ``This case is identical.''
The foundation said the suit was inspired by a National Court decision last week that gave a Spanish judge a green light to try to bring Pinochet to trial for crimes committed during his 1973-90 regime.
Garzon had Pinochet arrested in London last month as a first step toward his extradition. The case is pending in Britain's House of Lords after a court there ruled that Pinochet was entitled to immunity as a former head of state.
Alonso said they had submitted papers to Spain's National Court detailing the cases of about 120 people who allegedly suffered torture or other abuses by Castro's government, were executed or died while in Cuban jails or in police custody.
The suit also included the names of 18,000 people who lawyers say were killed or disappeared in Cuba since 1959 when Castro took power.
``Spain has opened the door to the victims of Argentina and Chile,'' Clara Maria del Valle, foundation vice president, said at a Madrid news conference. ``Today we come to knock on the door of Spanish justice in the name of the victims ... of Fidel Castro.''
Most of the 18,000 on the list are Cubans, but there are also several people from North America and Spain. Alonso said he was unable to give a precise breakdown.
The court is likely to name a judge to review the case by this weekend. The judge will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a formal probe within the next two weeks, said Javier Barrilero, another lawyer for the foundation.
In Havana, Cuban Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alejandro Gonzalez said he would not respond ``to such ridiculous humbug.''
Earlier Thursday, Spanish Foreign Minister Abel Matutes said ``the case had no chance of succeeding,'' given that Castro is a head of state and entitled to diplomatic immunity.
Also named in the suit are Castro's brother Raul, Cuban Tourism Minister and former army commander Osmani Cienfuegos and Carlos Amat, Cuba's ambassador in Geneva and also a former military member.
The Foundation for Human Rights is part of the Cuban-American National Foundation, a Miami-based group vehemently opposed to Castro.
© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press