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Argentinian academic to be deported from Spain on charges of crimes against humanity

AN Argentinian academic faces being deported from France to face trial on charges of torture and crimes against humanity for his role as a police officer under Argentina’s 1976-83 military dictatorship.

Prosecutors requested the extradition of Mario Sandoval over the case of student Hernan Abriata, who disappeared while in police custody in 1976.

He is also accused over 500 other cases in Argentina’s US-backed “Dirty War” against leftwingers, trade unionists and political dissidents, in which at least 30,000 people were disappeared and tortured.

Mr Abriata, who fled to France after the fall of the dictatorship, denies the charges. 

But a French court has rejected his appeal, paving the way for his extradition to Argentina. Police arrested him at his home on Wednesday.

It is alleged that Mr Abriata was a specialist in fighting what the military junta called “subversive elements” at a secret prison used to interrogate and torture dissidents.

Argentinian court documents state that the former police official was nicknamed “Churrasco.” As well as being Spanish word for steak, churrasco was also the term used for a metal bed frame on which detainees were electrocuted.

The country’s Truth and Justice Commission has waged a decades-long campaign for those who committed atrocities to be held to account.

There have been number of prosecutions, including one which led to the jailing of former Ford bosses for their role in the disappearance of trade unionists from the company’s plant in Buenos Aires.

The “Dirty War” was part of the US-backed Operation Condor, designed to prevent the emergence in South America of democratic governments with social democratic or left-wing programmes that could threaten capitalist interests.

An estimated 60,000 people were killed by right-wing regimes in the clandestine operations, with at least another 400,000 rounded up and jailed.

The CIA is known to have trained and supported military and civilian personnel involved in the brutal oppression.

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