Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ex-Argentine Dictators Sentenced Over Illegal Adoptions

In a historic decision an Argentine court sentenced former dictators Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone for the kidnapping and illegal adoptions of thirty-five children during the “Dirty War” era.

Videla, who has already been sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity, received the punishment of an additional fifty years behind bars. Bignone, who is also serving a lengthy prison sentences for human rights crimes in the early 1980s, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

Videla claimed during testimony last week that the accusations against him were “erroneous” and that the mothers kidnapped by security forces were “active militants in the machinery of terrorism”. Nevertheless, the court agreed with prosecutor Martín Niklison’s arguments alleging that Videla and Bignone knowingly executed a “systematic plan” to rob babies between 1976 and 1983.

Most of the thirty-five children in the case have been identified including a pair of legislators and the granddaughter of poet Juan Gelman.

It is believed that at least 400 babies were taken from their parents who were being held in detention centers during the “Dirty War” era. Thus far the identities of 102 of them have been discovered thanks to the efforts of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo human rights group, which was founded by Maria Isabel Chorobik de Mariani.

According to The Guardian, the court’s decision brings satisfaction to people like her who have searched for years for their missing young ones like Chorobik's missing granddaughter:
"Sometimes when newspapers report that a missing child has been found and they've met their family, people think it's a fairy tale," she said. "But behind all this, there's a heavy burden on these kids. I'm sure Clara Anahi has buried in her memory the noise of that attack, the yelling and the gunshots and being separated from her mother."
The court also handed down prison sentences against nine other defendants including former military officers and a doctor who delivered some of the babies.

Video Source – YouTube via TVPublicaArgentina

Online Sources – The Guardian, La Nacion,

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