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ARGENTINA | 24-03-2018 19:21

Protesters slam transfer of dictatorship convicts to house arrest

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across the country today to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the 1976 coup d’état that led to a brutal eight-year military dictatorship.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across the country today to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the 1976 coup d’état that led to a brutal eight-year military dictatorship.

Among the clearest demands this year was the denouncing of a policy allowing ex-military members convicted of crimes during the country's dictatorship to be moved to house arrest.

Demonstrations were held in squares and parks across the nation to denounce "setbacks in human rights policy" and to "demand freedom for political prisoners," according to a statement released by organizers. 

The main protest was held at the iconic Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, in front of the home of the federal government's executive branch.

At the forefront of the demonstrations were organisations including The Mothers and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, set up to search for relatives who were victims of forced disappearances.

Less than a week ago, Alfredo Astiz –  handed two life sentences for crimes against humanity during the dictatorship – appeared on a government list of 1,436 inmates who could be transferred to alternative forms of imprisonment for health reasons, according to the Federal Penitentiary Service. 

The list included over 100 people handed life sentences for their role during the dictatorship (1976-83).

Astiz, 67, has cancer, an illness that would make him eligible for the programme.

- TIMES/AFP

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