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Argentina, life in jail for ex dictator Videla

sentenced for crimes against the humankind

Former Argentinian dictator Jorge Videla was condemned to life in jail by a tribunal in Cordoba. He was found guilty of the kidnapping, torture and shooting of 31 political detainees shot in a Cordoba prison between April and October 1976, soon after the coup he himself lead on the 24th of March of the same year.

Together with Videla lifetime jail was handed down also to former general Luciano Benjamin Menendez. The two before the verdict contended they had fought a "just war" against "Marxist subversives".

The shooting of prisoners

Most opponents were taken away from the cells of Unidad Penal 1 (UP1) and murdered with a rifle shot. According to the army's version the men were killed because "they attempted to escape”. At that time general Videla was one of the members of the security forces who perpetrated the massacre.

The former dictator had already been sentenced to life in 1945 but he was pardoned by former President Carlos Menem. The pardon was declared unconstitutional in 2007. In 2005 the Supreme Court had repealed the amnesty laws against the crimes of the dictatorship.

"The verdict was welcomed with much enthusiasm by Cordoba citizens. They have been the cruelest murderers in Argentinian history" said the Cordobans to newspaper Clarin, “Nonetheless, amid this joy, we must consider we are only half way: now we wait for the final judgement on the kidnapping of our grandchildren“, concluded the relatives of the UP1 victims.

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23 December 2010

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