Missing Argentina 'Dirty War' witness released by captors after one day

[JURIST] An Argentine human rights activist whose Wednesday disappearance sparked a nation-wide manhunt was released by his captors Thursday. Juan Evaristo Puthod, who was held at secret prisons during Argentina's "Dirty War" [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive], had previously testified about the treatment of political prisoners under the country's 1976-83 military junta, prompting fears that he had been kidnapped in retaliation for his cooperation in the prosecution of former junta members. It was not clear Thursday whether the kidnapping was related to his "Dirty War" testimony. AP has more.

Puthod was not the first "Dirty War" witness to disappear. In 2006, key witness Luis Gerez disappeared [IPS/GIN report] after implicating former police chief and mayor Luis Abelardo Patti with torturing him in the 1970s. Gerez was the second of two "Dirty War" witnesses to disappear towards the end of 2006, but he reappeared [BBC report] three days after his disappearance. Jorge Julio Lopez, a construction worker who disappeared after testifying at the trial [JURIST reports] of Miguel Etchecolatz [Project Disappeared profile] for alleged "Dirty War crimes," remains missing and is believed to have been kidnapped.

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