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ARGENTINA | 22-03-2021 22:38

Ex-military chiefs sanctioned over 2017 sinking of ARA San Juan submarine

Retired admiral Marcelo Srur was handed "45 days of arrest" for giving "incomplete" picture to Defence Ministry; ex-sub commander Claudio Villamide dismissed for "lack of care and neglect."

Two former Navy chiefs were on Monday sanctioned over the 2017 sinking of a submarine that left 44 people dead.

Retired admiral Marcelo Srur was handed "45 days of arrest" for having given an "incomplete" picture to the Defence Ministry of what happened to the submarine, thus "preventing the family members of the crew from being informed," said a statement by Argentina's General War Council.

Claudio Villamide, the ex-commander of the Submarine Division of the Navy, was dismissed after he was found guilty of "lack of care and neglect of the troops and equipment under his charge."

The ARA San Juan disappeared in November 2017. When it was found just over a year later, it was at a depth of more than 900 metres in a desolate area of the South Atlantic some 400 kilometres off the coast of Argentina.

It had been crushed from an implosion caused apparently by a technical fault but authorities decided against attempting to refloat it.

Two active captains, Captain Héctor Aníbal Alonso and frigate captain Hugo Miguel Correa were given 25 and 30-day detentions while a former head of a naval base in the south of the country was given 15 days of arrest. Two other people were acquitted.

Luis Tagliapietra, the father of one of the victims, welcomed the news but said the sanctions "came up short."

"There should have been other dismissals but in any case these sanctions are important because they are linked to the penal investigation," for which he is a plaintiff, Tagliapietra told AFP.

Last November, a court ordered an investigation to determine whether former president Mauricio Macri and his former defence minister Oscar Aguad should be held accountable for the accident.

– TIMES/AFP

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