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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Argentina ex-president sentenced to 25 years for 'Dirty War' rights abuses
Tara Tighe at 10:22 AM ET

[JURIST] A federal court in Argentina on Tuesday sentenced [verdict, PDF, in Spanish; CIJ report, in Spanish] former president and military general Reynaldo Bignone [JURIST news archive] to 25 years in prison for human rights abuses during the 1976-83 "Dirty War" [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Bignone served as de facto president from 1982 to 1983 and represents the last dictator to hold power during the military regime that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. The court found Bignone guilty [BBC report] of involvement in 56 cases of murder, torture, and kidnappings in one of Argentina's largest torture centers, the Campo de Mayo military base. The court also sentenced [AP report] five other retired military officers to prison terms ranging from 17 to 25 years in connection with abuses during the military regime.

Bignone went on trial [press release, in Spanish; JURIST report] in November on charges stemming from two separate federal court determinations that he should stand trial. In April 2007, Bignone was ordered to stand trial [JURIST report] for the kidnapping of children of dissidents killed during the "Dirty War." Bignone had already been ordered in March 2007 to stand trial [JURIST report] on separate charges connected to the illegal arrest, torture, and killing of dissidents at secret detention centers in Buenos Aires. Earlier that same month, an Argentine federal judge ordered Bignone's arrest [JURIST report] for his role in the alleged abuses.

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