Former Argentine police commander Mario Ferreyra, 63, pulled out a .45 pistol from his boot and shot himself dead in the middle of a TV interview at his home Nov. 22. Ferreyra, also known as “El Malevo,” was accused of involvement in the kidnapping and torture of dissidents during the “Dirty War” of Argentina’s 1973-83 dictatorship. He climbed at the top of a water tank above his house in Tucumán when he learned authorities were on their way to arrest him. When the crew from Cronica TV arrived, he made a brief statement, uttered, “Maria, goodbye”—referring to his wife—and then took his life. The station later aired the harrowing images, before a court order was issued halting the broadcasts.
A court convicted Ferreyra in 1993 for the murder of three men at a clandestine prison he is charged with having operated in Tucumán. He turned himself to former Tucumán governor Antonio Bussi who reduced his sentence. His wife insists the former police chief is innocent. However, the families of the victims say the suicide was part of a “pact of silence,” to prevent Ferreyra from testifying against his former compatriot. (AHN, AP, Nov. 23)