Argentine torture general sentenced

This video from Democracy Now! in the USA includes Bone Fragments Discovered at Argentine Torture Site.

From Big News Network:

86 year old Argentine general gets life in prison

Friday 28th August, 2009

A former general who ran a detention centre during Argentina’s military dictatorship has been sentenced to life in prison for human rights violations.

Santiago Omar Riveros was commander of the notorious Campo de Mayo prison near Buenos Aires where an estimated 5,000 prisoners were held during the 1976-83 dictatorship.

Santiago Omar Riveros was found guilty this week of torturing and beating to death Floreal Avellaneda, a 15 year old boy, and of abducting his mother Iris.

The two were abducted one month after the 1976 military coup, in order to find out the whereabouts of Floreal Avellaneda’s father, a Communist Party union leader of the same name.

Iris was released after nearly three years of detention and torture; her son’s body was found washed up on the Uruguayan coast, bound by the hands and feet, and with signs of beating.

“This sentence is an important achievement in the fight for justice for the victims of Argentina’s ‘dirty war’ and the struggle against impunity enjoyed by so many of the perpetrators,” said Javier Zuniga, Amnesty International’s special adviser.

The teenager’s father said he was satisfied with the verdict, but called for Santiago Omar Riveros to receive no clemency.”The sentence must be served in a common prison. Even if he dies in prison, he will never suffer what we suffered,” he said.

The former general, who is now 86, is accused of more than 40 crimes against humanity involving victims of the era’s so-called “disappeared”. During the years of military rule, headed by General Leopoldo Galtieri, around 30,000 people vanished at the hands of the security forces and are still unaccounted for.

See also here.

So justice at last, 33 years after the crimes.

I hope that we will not have to wait for 33 years before those guilty of recent torture policies in the USA (like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld) will have to stand trial.

Bloggers accuse Washington Post of aiding, abetting Cheney: here.

In an interview Sunday, former vice president Dick Cheney defended the brutal interrogations carried out at CIA secret prisons and denounced the proposed investigation of a handful of CIA agents: here.

In the spring of 2003, long before Abu Ghraib or secret prisons became part of the American vocabulary, a pair of recently hired lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union noticed a handful of news reports about allegations of abuse of prisoners in American custody: here.

11 thoughts on “Argentine torture general sentenced

  1. From the Philippines:

    #55 Ferguson Road, Baguio City 2600

    Statement on the Occasion of the International Day for the Disappeared
    August 30, 2008


    We have not lost track of the days since James Moy Balao was abducted by five armed State security agents last September 17, 2008 in Lower Tomay, La Trinidad. It has been 348 days of searching, waiting and demanding for the State to surface him.

    We had hopes that the government shall assist us to search and surface James with the Benguet Regional Trial Court’s issuance of the Writ of Amparo for him, which ordered the government to respect James Balao’s constitutional rights, to cease from inflicting harm on him and to release him. However, the government ignored this and worse, its legal minions even appealed to deny the writ that simply should provide protection for James.

    We have exhausted all means to find him and we continue to seek for ways to search for him.

    Today, there is still no trace of James!

    James’ name belongs to the long list of names of the others too whom the State have tried to silence through enforced disappearance under the policy Operation Plan Bantay Laya. Among those who remain missing to this day are Jonas Burgos, Luisa Posa-Dominado, Nilo Arado, Karen Empeno, Sherlyn Cadapan, Romulos Robinos, Gloria Soco, Prudencio Calubid, Celina Palma and Leo Velasco. There are about 200 families ceaselessly searching for their loved ones until they are found.

    Each day of their absence is agonizing for parents and children searching for their sons and daughters or parents who have been stolen from them. The testimonies of those who escaped, like Raymond Manalo or those who were found or surfaced, like Melissa Roxas tell of what the State security forces subject the victims of enforced disappearance to. Their accounts describe the dastardly inhumane the physical and mental torture they went through. Raymund Manalo recounted that while he and his brother were being forced to admit that they were members of the New People’s Army, they were flogged with chains and wood until their bodies gravely weakened. That they were kept in a dingy cell with their hands and feet tied, with no food. That they were pissed on and beated repeatedly. That he almost died when they poured gasoline over him and attempted to burn him alive. Melissa Roxas in her affidavit described how her captors deprived her of sleep, food, and how they repeatedly banged her head and choked her while she was being interrogated by a certain ‘Tatay’. The exhumation that yielded the charred bones of Manuel Merino in an abandoned military camp in Limay, Bataan is also a dreadful possibility in the range of what could have happened to those who were enforcedly disappeared.

    Today, August 30, on the occasion of the International Day for the Disappeared, we strongly remind the public of this reality that the GMA regime shamelessly continues to deny and perpetrate. We all should continue to exact State accountability for the Desaparecidos.

    Enforced disappearances have taken place in the government’s scheme to neutralize all political dissent even those allowed within the very limited democratic space defined by the State. Under Operation Plan Bantay Laya, the GMA regime labels legal progressive people’s organizations like the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), its members and network as sectoral fronts of the revolutionary organizations Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). This has classified the members and leaders of these organizations as enemies of the State and legitimized the political persecution and attack against the members and leaders of these organizations.

    In the implementation of this policy, the government has wrongly and systematically denied the basic rights to life, liberty and security of the people, thus, fueling the revolution that it seeks to quell. The government further tries to justify the abductions or killings of victims by stating their involvement and tagging them as terrorists. They should remember that one’s human rights are not lesser because of his or her political belief.

    The enforced disappearances executed also derail the peace process between parties involved in the armed conflict to become substantive. The enforced disappearances of the NDFP consultants to the peace process directly go against the confidence building measures the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) should be doing if it were sincere on walking the road to peace. These are blatant violations of international humanitarian laws and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

    Today, we call on the public to join us in the reiteration of our demand to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to surface James and all victims of enforced disappearances. As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,she is accountable for the enforced disappearance of James and the other victims with the implementation of her state security policy.

    We call on the government to abandon Oplan Bantay Laya. It should cease from classifying legal progressive people’s organizations as sectoral fronts of revolutionary organizations. It should stop violating human rights.

    We demand justice for victims of enforced disappearances and all human rights violations. Perpetrators – abductors, captors and the masterminds, should be brought to the bars of justice and should be meted out with appropriate punishment.

    We have not lost track of the days since James went missing. We will not lose hope and lose track in searching for the path towards finding him and other victims of enforced disappearances and claiming justice for them.

    For reference:

    Jude Baggo
    Secretary General


  2. Video by Ilena Saturay, available at youtube:


    Filipino Refugees in the Netherlands (FREN)
    30 August 2009

    International Day of the Disappeared commemorated in the Netherlands

    Utrecht, 30 August – Filipino refugees living in the Netherlands and Dutch organization Aim for Human Rights gathered in the city of Utrecht on 29 August to commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared, echoing the global call to ratify the UN Convention for the Protection of all Persons against Enforced Disappearances and to stop enforced disappearances worldwide.

    Participants to the commemoration joined the throng of Saturday shoppers in the city center, holding up photos of the disappeared and giving passersby white balloons with photos and information about the disappeared. Dave Harvey, member of Aim for Human Rights and coordinator of the commemoration activity, led the participants in distributing 300 balloons and telling the stories of the disappeared.

    Victims whose stories were heard included Jihad Eid of Lebanon, who disappeared in 1990; agricultural technician Jonas Burgos of the Philippines who was abducted in Manila in April 2007; and indigenous people’s leader James Moy Balao, missing since 17 September 2008.

    The balloons were later simultaneously released, symbolizing the aspiration that their stories should be spread ever wider, and not to be forgotten. The Filipino refugees and Aim for Human Rights were also joined by HIJOS, families of the disappeared in Argentina, and students from Indonesia.

    “It was an effective and successful action,” Mitchie Mallorca Saturay, one of the event’s participant, observed. “We need to ensure that the stories of the disappeared are kept alive… We were able to inform a wide public, here in Utrecht, that enforced disappearances is still happening in the Philippines.”

    “It is heartwarming to see that the Dutch public and Aim for Human Rights are concerned about the victims of disappearances and the loved ones they left behind,” said Angie Gonzales, member of Filipino Refugees in the Netherlands. “I heard expressions of sympathy and good wishes from quite a number of ordinary passersby today… they understood the barbarity of the abductions and they sympathize with those who are left behind, not knowing if they will ever see their loved ones again.”

    Asked why he joined the event, FREN member Boyen Baleva explained, “I know James Balao personally, he is a close friend of mine… I was also a victim of abduction and torture in June 2001 by elements of the 17th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. I consider myself lucky that I was surfaced after five days, that I can tell my story myself.”

    “It is appalling to hear that not a single official of the Arroyo government has been held accountable for the disappearance of more than 200 persons since 2001,” Baleva continued. “Arroyo officials express satisfaction whenever one of their own is exonerated, as if to say that keeping cases of enforced disappearances unsolved makes them happy.”

    Mrs. Editha Burgos, mother of Jonas Burgos and Chairperson of Desaparecidos, is scheduled to visit several countries in Europe in October and November for a speaking tour. She was invited by several human rights organizations in the continent to shed more light on the phenomenon of enforced disappearances in the Philippines, especially under the current Gloria Arroyo government.

    Boyen Baleva
    Filipino Refugees in the Netherlands
    +31 6 51331013


  3. Argentina:

    Dirty war torturer jailed

    Thursday 27 October 2011

    A notorious death squad leader was jailed for life on Wednesday for his role in the kidnapping, torture and murder of 86 people during the former junta’s 1976-83 “dirty war” against leftwingers.

    Alfredo Astiz, known as the “blonde angel of death,” served as a lieutenant at the Naval Mechanics School, a torture camp where thousands of communists, socialists, trade unionists and guerillas were secretly imprisoned and executed.

    Fewer than half of the 5,000 people abused in the facility survived.


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