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Uruguay ex-president sentenced to 30 years in prison over 1973 coup

[JURIST] Former Uruguayan president Juan Maria Bordaberry was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison for his role in the country's 1973 military coup. Bordaberry was elected president in 1971, and in 1973 he worked with the military to dissolve the General Assembly, resulting in 12 years of military dictatorship [Country Studies backgrounder]. After his arrest in 2006 on charges of murder, prosecutors later charged [La Republica report, in Spanish] Bordaberry with violating Uruguay's constitution [materials, in Spanish]. Bordaberry, 81, has been under house arrest since 2007 [El Pais report, in Spanish] due to failing health, and it is not clear if that house arrest will continue, or if he will be transferred to prison.

Bordaberry is the second Uruguayan dictator to be sentenced to prison in the last six months. In October, former military leader Gregorio Alvarez was sentenced to 25 years in prison [JURIST report] for his role in 37 homicides that occurred during his four-year reign as president. Just before that sentencing, the country's Supreme Court found that laws shielding rulers from prosecution [JURIST report] for kidnapping and murder during the time of the military dictatorship were unconstitutional. Alvarez's time as president coincided with the last years [Country Studies backgrounder] of the military dictatorship that ruled Uruguay from the 1973 coup to 1985.

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