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Thu Aug 25, 2016, 06:51 PM

Argentine court sentences 28 former officers to life in prison for role in La Perla detention camp.

An Argentine federal court tribunal sentenced 28 former military and police officers to life in prison for their roles in human rights atrocities committed in the La Perla detention camp and two other sites during the country's Dirty War against dissidents in the mid 1970s. Another nine defendants received sentences of up to 21 years and six were acquitted.

The landmark ruling, one of the largest and most significant of its kind since former President Néstor Kirchner signed a bill in 2003 rescinding amnesty for Dirty War perpetrators, involved 52 defendants (nine have died) and 716 identified victims - of which 279 remain missing.

Among those given a life sentence was former General Luciano Menéndez, who as Commander of the Third Army Corps from 1975 to 1979 oversaw La Perla and now has 12 life sentences for his prominent role in the Dirty War. Menéndez, 89, was found guilty of 52 murders, 260 kidnappings, and 656 cases of torture - as well as the expropriation of the the then-infant grandson of Sonia Torres, President of Córdoba chapter of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo.

The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, established to locate the estimated 500 individuals taken as infants during the Dirty War and then adopted by members or supporters of the dictatorship, have located 120 such grandchildren thus far.

Another prominent defendant given a life sentence was former Army Major Ernesto Barreiro, chief torturer at La Perla. The most defiant and unrepentant of the defendants, Barreiro, 68, fled Argentina in 2004 - shortly after amnesty was rescinded - and lived in hiding in rural Virginia until his arrest and extradition in 2006. Barreiro was found guilty of 228 kidnappings, 78 murders, and the expropriation of an infant.

Former Army Captain Héctor Vergez, who directed La Perla as well as the smaller La Ribera detention site, also received a life sentence for his role as one of the most vicious torturers at the camp. Vergez, 73, is a already serving a 23-year sentence for three murders and three disappearances (including that of Juan Carlos Casariego de Bel, who was killed in 1977 after objecting to the $400 million bailout of the bankrupt CIAE electric utility by its chief shareholder, then-Economy Minister José Martínez de Hoz).

An estimated 10,000 people gathered outside the First District Federal Courthouse in Córdoba, Argentina's second largest city. The reading of the verdict by Judge Jaime Díaz Gavier began before noon and lasted almost two hours. Among those present in the courthouse were the head of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Estela Barnes de Carlotto, as well as the country's most prominent Dirty War Apologist, Cecilia Pando.

The verdict was handed down after nearly four years of trial that included testimony from around 600 witnesses and experts and over a thousand hours of hearings. Prosecutors Facundo Trotta, Virginia Carmona, and Rafael Vehils sought prison sentences (including 34 life sentences) for charges ranging from illegal deprivation of liberty, aggravated deprivation, aggravated torture, torture followed by death, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, aggravated rape, murder in the first degree, and child abduction.

La Perla, located 5 miles west of the city of Córdoba in the scenic Andes foothills of central Argentina, functioned between 1975 and 1978 as one of the largest of around 300 detention centers maintained during the Dirty War. An estimated 3,000 people lost their lives there, second only to the 5,000 killed in the Navy Mechanics School (ESMA) in Buenos Aires. A total of up to 30,000 dissidents, violent and non-violent, died or disappeared at the time.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.politicargentina.com/notas/201608/16183-historica-sentencia-en-cordoba-28-condenas-a-perpetua-en-la-megacausa-la-perla.html&prev=search

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Reply Argentine court sentences 28 former officers to life in prison for role in La Perla detention camp. (Original post)
forest444 Aug 2016 OP
Judi Lynn Aug 2016 #1

Response to forest444 (Original post)

Sat Aug 27, 2016, 03:47 AM

1. Worst group of "legal" criminals brought to justice in ages.

As long as your political party rules the country you can write and interpret the laws to allow you to do anything, if you have no morals.

If only the new President Macri, who is one of them, doesn't decide he can get by with giving them all pardons and letting them go home, with his blessings.

One of them is guilty of torturing people to death. My god.

So glad to see Estela Barnes was able to attend.

Not so good that vicious Cecilia Pando went there to morally support the monsters on behalf of the young monsters.

Surely hope this verdict will be allowed to stand, forest444.

Thank you, so much, for sharing this information.

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