Until now the human rights trials of the crimes against humanity committed by the 1976-83 military dictatorship have centred on disputing the rights and wrongs of that regime’s campaign against “subversion” four decades ago but last week disgraced former navy commander alfredo astiz brought the debate into the present day by voicing his own opinions about the missing person of today, Santiago Maldonado.
Astiz repudiated the ongoing investigation into Maldonado’s “forced disappearance.” The human rights offender, already convicted for the deaths of two French nuns and the Swedishargentine teenager Dagmar Hagelin and now facing a third trial for the atrocities committed at the former ESMA naval engineering academy, asked why everybody was debating whether or not “a Border Guard chucked a stone” when he saw the real issue as the “usurpation” of argentine territory by Mapuche “secessionists” on the basis of “fictitious ancestral claims.”
The war against terrorism is never won, astiz railed, but continues today in the face of the challenge posed by the Mapuche resistance movement.
In a statement lasting some 90 minutes, astiz complained about prison conditions and argued that the charges against him should always have been tried by a military, not civilian court. He was harshly critical of the numerous trials against him, which have now been proceeding for several years.
“The ultimate degree of perversity is to use the law to serve injustice,” he said. the trials for crimes against humanity are “the last stage of judicial terrorism,” he continued in that vein. “i shall never apologise for defending my fatherland.”
During the dictatorship, astiz infiltrated the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo group and collaborated on the murder of its first leader, azucena Villaflor, in 1977.