Videla And Bignone On Trial For Baby Thefts In Argentina’s “Dirty War”
March 1, 2011 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — Former Argentine dictators Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone are on trial on charges they presided over a plot to steal babies from political prisoners during their rules.
The former dictators are accused of kidnapping some 30 children whose parents died or disappeared during the 1976-83 military rule, in which the Argentine government waged what is known as the “Dirty War.” Six other people are also on trial, including ex-officers and a doctor.
More than 100 children weren given for adoption to military or police couples during this period.
The theft of children was “one of the darkest episodes in Argentina’s history,” said federal prosecutor Federico Delgado, according to The Telegraph.
The case opened 14 years ago at the request of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a leading human rights group, and it may take up to a year to hear testimony from about 370 witnesses.
Videla, 85, has been sentenced to life in prison, and Bignone, 83, is serving a 25-year term for other crimes committed during the 1976-1983 dictatorship. There are 13,000 people on the official list of those killed, although rights groups estimate as many as 30,000 died.
“This trial is necessary to set things straight,” said Leonardo Fossati, whose mother was three months pregnant when she was kidnapped in 1977. “For a long time now, they have denied there was a systematic plan to steal babies.”
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