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Friday, 19 December 2014

Argentina sentences four to life in jail for crimes against humanity

BUENOS AIRES: An Argentine court has sentenced four former military officers to life in prison for crimes against humanity during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship. 

The sentence was handed down Thursday by a Buenos Aires court that found the four guilty of "illegal deprivation of liberty, torture, rape and homicide" involving 204 people held at a secret detention center known as the Vesubio. 

The four are former colonels Federico Minicucci and Jorge Crespi, former intelligence officer Gustavo Cacivio, and former colonel and prison official Nestor Cendon. 

Among their victims were two French nationals - Francoise Dauthier and Juan Soler - and a German, Elisabeth Kasemann, all of whom disappeared in 1977. 

Dauthier was taken from her house in southern Buenos Aires with her two daughters, age 18 months and three years. They were returned a month later to their grandparents. 

Soler, a former priest and construction worker, was abducted from his home with his Argentine mother. 

Kasemann, a 30-year-old sociologist and daughter of a Lutheran theologian, was kidnapped in May and her bullet-riddled body was found two months later along with those of 15 other people. 

About 2,500 people were detained at the Vesubio detention center between 1976 and 1978, when it was destroyed ahead of a visit by a delegation from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. 

Two other former military officers - a general and a colonel - were sentenced to life in prison in 2011 for crimes committed at the Vesubio, whose chief, retired colonel Pedro Duran Saenz, died during the trial.