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ARGENTINA | 18-04-2018 14:51

Thirteen former military, police torturers sentenced to prison in Córdoba

The "Menéndez" trial was the first to address crimes committed during the year prior to the March 1976 coup d’état when the government of Isabel Perón, widow of General Juan Perón, unleashed the first wave of state-sponsored terror against the country’s revolutionary and cultural left.

Thirteen former military and provincial police personnel were on Tuesday sentenced in Córdoba province to prison sentences ranging from 17 to three years. The men had committed human rights crimes during the country’s last dictatorship, the courts previously determined.

The so-called “Menéndez IV” trial focussed on crimes that took place in Córdoba province from 1975 to 1978. It began in November 2017 with the infamous Luciano Benjamin Menéndez still in the dock. Menéndez died in February.

Importantly, the trial was also the first among the ongoing human rights trials to address crimes committed during the year prior to the March 1976 coup d’état when the government of Isabel Perón, widow of General Juan Perón, unleashed the first wave of state-sponsored terror against the country’s revolutionary and cultural left.

The trial looked at the crimes of illegal aggravated detention, aggravated torture, homicide, rape and abuse, against a total of 61 victims, six of whom were murdered and one disappeared.

Some victims’ relatives yesterday expressed their dissatisfaction with the sentences handed down by Judges Julián Falcucci, Jaime Díaz Gavier and Juan Carlos Reynaga.

The sentences ranged from 17 to three years. Six men were absolved.

Relatives including Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and members of the rights organisations HIJOS and Familiares de Detenidos y Desaparecidos, yelled “murderer” and “rapist” at the convicts as they exited the court room.

Prosecutor Maximiliano Hairabedián expressed his “satisfaction” with the sentences but agreed that there “were many cases” in which the court “could have handed down a stronger sentence”, he told Página 12.

-TIMES

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