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28 jailed for life for crimes against humanity during Argentina's Dirty War

JUSTICE has finally been served after 28 former officers were jailed for life today for crimes against humanity committed during Argentina’s military dictatorship which ruled between 1976 and 1983.

The sentences were passed unanimously, with the perpetrators found guilty of a range of crimes including involvement in forced disappearances, torture and rape during the period known as the “dirty war.”

Prosecuting Judge Gloria Leon said it was “the first trial in which the situation had been completely analysed, that is the scale of the repression committed by the navy, the army, the Argentine Naval Prefecture and the Buenos Aires Police.”

The trial lasted two years, with the public unable to attend court as Tuesday’s judgement was handed down, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was the final hearing in the case against 40 former military personnel.

Along with the 28 jailed for life, seven other former soldiers received sentences of between seven and 25 years. Five of the accused were acquitted.

The abuses were perpetrated against students, workers, artists and mothers who were illegally detained in “Subzone 15,” an area of ​​counterinsurgency operation notorious for torture.

Argentina’s dirty war saw anti-communist death squads hunt down political dissidents, socialists and those associated with the Peronist movement as part of US-backed operations across Latin and South America.

As many as 60,000 people were killed, 30,000 disappeared and 400,000 jailed during Operation Condor, which was established in Chile by the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in 1975.

It was backed by the US to prevent the emergence of democratic governments with social democratic or left-wing programmes that could threaten capitalist interests.

Methods were brutal as military dictatorships in Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina colluded in hunting down left-wing activists and political opponents, tens of thousands of whom disappeared or were assassinated.

Many victims had their stomachs sliced open and thousands were dropped from helicopters into the sea by Argentina’s military junta in collusion with the country’s notorious state intelligence services.

Recently declassified documents revealed that European spy agencies were considering their own Operation Condor to deal with left-wing activists.

“Representatives of West German, French and British intelligence services had visited the Condor organisation secretariat in Buenos Aires during the month of September 1977 in order to discuss methods for establishment of an anti-subversion organisation similar to Condor,” a CIA document stated.

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