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Spain court asks to transfer naval officer charged with genocide to Argentina

[JURIST] A Spanish judge requested permission from Mexico Wednesday to extradite former Argentine naval officer Ricardo Miguel Cavallo [TrialWatch profile] back to Argentina. Cavallo was extradited from Mexico to Spain and has been in Spanish custody since 2003. In January 2006, he was charged with genocide [JURIST report], organized terrorism and crimes against humanity for crimes committed during Argentina's "dirty war" [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. If convicted, Cavallo faces a prison term theoretically amounting to 17,000 years. Spain's High Court ruled in December 2006 that it does not have jurisdiction [JURIST report] to try Cavallo and offered to send him back to Argentina. Madrid's government held that Cavallo can only be transferred to Argentina once his appeal of the decision to the Supreme Court is resolved and Mexico gives its authorization. Even though Cavallo has said he would not oppose his extradition to Argentina, his Supreme Court appeal could take several more months. AP has more.

Starting in 1976, Argentina's "dirty war" was a seven-year campaign by the Argentine government against suspected dissidents. It is estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 people were forcibly kidnapped or "disappeared" following the 1976 Argentine military coup, including approximately 600 Spanish citizens. Just under 9,000 people ar known to have been killed. In April 2005, a Spanish court convicted another former Argentine naval officer [JURIST report], Adolfo Scilingo [TrialWatch profile], of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to 640 years in prison after finding him to have been aboard planes from which 30 people were thrown to their deaths during Argentina's military rule.

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