Argentina: ex-general gets life in ‘dirty war’ trial

A court in the Argentine province of Córdoba on Aug. 25 handed life sentences to 28 former military officers over "crimes against humanity" committed under the dictatorship. The defendants included ex-general Luciano Benjamín Menéndez AKA "The Hyena"—already been serving 11 life sentences for human rights abuses. He was found guilty this time of 52 homicides, 260 kidnappings, 656 instances of torture, and 82 "disappearances." He earned his nickname from laughing as he tortured his victims in the secret prison of La Perla, where 2,000 political prisoners were held during the dictatorship. All of the defendants had been charged with torturing and killing dissidents under the military regime that ruled from 1976 to 1983. In total they were found guilty of torturing, murdering or stealing the newborn babies of more than 700 victims. Menéndez denied the accusations against him, insisting there was no torture of any kind at La Perla and an adjacent clandestine detention center, La Ribera. Some 600 survivors testified against Menéndez and his co-defendants. Prosecutors called the Perla and Ribera facilities "extermination" centers. The case first opened in 2012. Another ten defendants were given shorter terms. (DW, Aug. 26; UNO, Argentina, Aug. 25)

Also among those receiving life terms were ex-captain Héctor Pedro Vergez and ex-major Ernesto "Nabo" Barreiro, accused of running the Comando Libertadores de América paramilitary group, which carried out the "disappearances." (InfoBae, Aug. 25)

  1. Argentina: fromer air force chief convicted in ‘dirty war’ case

    The former head of Argentina's air force was convicted Sept. 8 in the kidnapping and torture of a left-wing activist couple during the dictatorship. The court sentenced Omar Graffigna, 90, to 25 years for the 1978 abduction of Patricia Roisinblit and Jose Manuel Perez Rojo, suspected members of the Montoneros guerrilla group. (AP)

  2. Argentine ex-army chief arrested in dirty war case

    Argentina's former army chief was arrested Feb. 17 on charges related to the kidnapping and torture of three people during the "dirty war." Retired General Cesar Milani, head of the Argentine military from 2012 to 2015, was arrested in the northern province of La Rioja on orders of a federal judge Daniel Herrera investigating into the 1977 case. At the time, Milani was a junior officer at the 141st Battalion in La Rioja. (TeleSur)