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Argentina police arrest former police chief 'Dirty War' suspect

[JURIST] Argentinean politician and former police chief and mayor Luis Abelardo Patti, wanted by Argentina [JURIST news archive] for allegedly torturing and killing several people during Argentina's 1976-1983 "Dirty War" [GlobalSecurity.org backgrounder; JURIST news archive], was arrested in Buenos Aires Thursday. Patti, who was elected to Argentina's lower Congressional house in 2005, had just this month received approval by the Supreme Court to take up his seat. Congress, however, voted Thursday to deny him his seat, which would have granted him immunity from any charges, citing his alleged connections to the "Dirty War" campaign. He was arrested hours later.

Argentina has recently stepped up investigations into hundreds of human rights cases stemming from the "Dirty War," during which at least 9,000 Argentinians were tortured and "disappeared" by the Argentinean military government in an attempt to silence leftist criticism of the military regime. Some human rights groups say the death toll was closer to 30,000. In 2006, a key witness testifying against "Dirty War" suspects disappeared [IPS/GIN report] after implicating Patti with torturing him in the 70's. The testimony by Luis Gerez contributed to the delay to Patti taking up his Congressional seat. Gerez was the second of two "Dirty War" witnesses to disappear around the end of 2006, but he reappeared [BBC report] three days after his disappearance. AP has more.

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