The Federal Oral Court (TOF) number 4 of San Martín, in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, sentenced to life imprisonment five of the six defendants in the trial for crimes against humanity committed against at least a hundred guerrillas exiles who faced the military dictatorship in the country between 1979 and 1980.
The sentence, which was celebrated by relatives of the victims and human rights organizations, involves former members of the Argentine Army Intelligence Service Luis Angel Firpo, Roberto Dambrosi, Jorge Bano, Eduardo Ascheri and Marcelo Cinto Courteaux, who were convicted. to life imprisonment.
According to the EFE news agency, the court denied, for the time being, the house arrest of the condemned until their health is verified, whose age exceeds 70 years.
Esteban Rodríguez Eggers, judge in charge of handling the case, pointed out that the facts under investigation “constitute crimes against humanity.” All the accused, according to the sentence, must serve a sentence in common prisons.
Likewise, the Argentine Justice decided to send a communication to the Ministry of Defense to establish the discharge due to exoneration of the convicted persons and the suspension of retirement, pension or retirement that they may be enjoying.
Prior to the presentation of the defendants, in which they would issue their last words regarding the investigation, the court suspended the reading of the verdict for Jorge Apa, the sixth person involved, after his lawyer requested the suspension of the process under the argument of “Progressive cognitive impairment” and for which he presented a medical certificate.
Despite the complaints from the Prosecutor’s Office and the complaints, the TOF decided to suspend the hearing and open a period of 10 days in which a forensic medical team will analyze him and verify his mental health status.
Montoneros guerrilla organization, a struggle with a social cause
The trial, which began on April 9, 2019, traces the events to the last year of the 1970s when the guerrilla organization Montoneros decided to carry out a counteroffensive between 1979 and 1980. This, which consisted of the regrouping of exiled militants in different countries, was intended to resist the military dictatorship and generate social support with the aim that the so-called state terrorism came to an end.
During the trial, in which more than 250 witnesses participated, crimes against humanity committed by the accused were addressed, including the illegal deprivation of liberty (kidnapping), torture and homicides against 94 victims between 1979 and 1980.
According to prosecutors, 70 of the victims who make up the core of the trial remain missing and twelve were killed during repressive operations
On the other hand, as for the kidnapping victims, many were taken to the Campo de Mayo detention center, where they were allegedly tortured and kept in absolute secrecy.
The investigation, in principle, was opened against nine former members of the Army Intelligence Service who were charged. However, three of them (Raúl Guillermo Pascual Muñoz, Carlos Blas Casuccio and Alberto Daniel Sotomayor) died during the process without being convicted.
In the trial, the group Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo was a plaintiff in conjunction with the Secretary of Human Rights of the Nation, the Undersecretary of Human Rights of the province of Buenos Aires and other individuals.
According to the Argentine publication ‘Página 12’, dozens of survivors and relatives of militants, who followed the trial remotely due to space restrictions due to the pandemic, celebrated each of the sentences with raised fists, laughter and tears .
With EFE and Argentine media