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Argentina police arrest 2 ex-military officers in 1972 massacre

[JURIST] Retired Argentinean military officers Paccagnini Ruben and Emilio Del Real were arrested by Argentina's Federal Police [official website, in Spanish] Saturday in connection with the August 1972 massacre of 16 leftist guerillas on a military base in the southern city of Trelew [government website]. Ruben and Del Real face charges of torture, homicide, attempted homicide and illegal detentions for their role in the shooting of the 16 guerillas in their cells. Nineteen guerillas were captured after escaping from prison and seizing the Trelew airport, three survived only to "disappear" in the late 1970s during the military dictatorship. The arrests are part of a larger investigation; federal police are still searching for former Marine Capt. Luis Emilio Sosa, Lt. Roberto Guillermo Bravo and Carlos Marandino to charge them in connection with the massacre.

Last Tuesday, the trial [JURIST report] of retired Argentinean General Cristino Nicolaides and five other former officers began for their alleged role in the abduction and torture of five political dissidents during the country's military dictatorship of the late 1970s and 80s. It is estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 people were forcibly kidnapped or "disappeared" during the so-called "Dirty War" [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive], a 1976-1983 Argentinean government campaign against suspected dissidents. In 2005, Argentina's Supreme Court struck down amnesty laws [JURIST report] adopted in the 1980s, prompting the government to reopen hundreds of human rights cases. AP has more.

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