Argentina: dirty war “death pilots” arrested

Argentine federal authorities on May 12 arrested three pilots—two still working for Aerolíneas Argentinas, the other retired from the navy—along with an attorney and a retired naval official, who are accused of having participated in “death flights” during the military dictatorship’s “dirty war” against leftist dissidents in the 1970s. In this secret program, “disappeared” dissidents were taken from the notorious secret prison at the Navy Mechanics School (ESMA) and dropped from the air alive into the sea. Among the prisoners believed to have been killed in this manner are the founder of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Azucena Villaflor de de Vincenti, and her comrades Esther Ballestrino de Careaga, María Ponce de Bianco, Angela Aguad and the French nun Leonie Duquet, who were abducted in early December 1976. Their bodies were found washed up on a beach at Santa Teresita days later. In 2005 the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team identified the bodies and certified the cause of death. The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo group was established to demand the reappearance alive of “disappeared” dissidents. (La Nacion, Buenos Aires, May 13)

See our last post on Argentina’s “dirty war” legacy.

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