November 22, 2017
Sunday, July 7, 2013

A new case of ‘Dirty War’ appropriation reaches court

A new trial for the appropriation of a girl during the dictatorship starts tomorrow. Elena Gallinari Abinet was the first granddaughter born in captivity recovered by the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo. Federal Court Number 1 of the city of La Plata will examine the case and is expected to deliver its verdict on Friday.

Judges Carlos Rozanski, Pablo Jantus and Pablo Vega will be in charge of trying Domingo Luis Madrid, María Mercedes Elichalt and Silvia Marta Kirilosky. Madrid was a former Buenos Aires province police officer who took the girl born in an unknown clandestine detention centre and registered the baby girl as his daughter. Elichalt, his wife, is also charged with the same offence. Kirilosky was the doctor who forged the birth certificate. For ten years, Elena was called Viviana Nancy Madrid.

Emanuel Lovelli, the lawyer representing Elena and the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, told the Herald that Madrid worked at the Buenos Aires province Investigations Directorate, which was the legal front for the so-called Pozo de Banfield clandestine detention centre.


Miguel Ángel Gallinari worked as a metalworker at the TENSA company. In that factory, he met María Leonor Abinet. Gallinari was a leftist organization Montoneros activist. In June 1976, he was abducted by the death squads of the last dictatorship and taken to the Campo de Mayo clandestine detention centre, but he managed to escape three days later.

By that time, he lived with his partner, who was pregnant, and the woman’s daughters in Los Polvorines, Buenos Aires province. Some time after that, he was kidnapped for the second time. His body was found on July 21, 1976 in the city of San Antonio de Padua, Buenos Aires province.

María Leonor Abinet, “Mara”, was a teacher. She had two daughters from a previous marriage, María Isabel Guadalupe and Inés María Pasman. She was also a Montoneros member and an activist for the teachers’ union CTERA. After her husband’s abduction, Mara decided to move to Caseros in Buenos Aires province, from where she was kidnapped on September 16, 1976. When she was abducted, Mara was 32- years-old. Her remains were identified by the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) in 2011.

Mara’s mother, Leonor Alonso, was also kidnapped the same day. She spent three days in the same concentration camp where her daughter was taken. She could not identify the place. When she was released, she was given her daughter’s crucifix and she understood that as a signal that Mara had been murdered. Leonor looked for her daughter and her granddaughter for years. In 1987, she found the girl. She became the first baby born in captivity stolen from her mother who was recovered by the Grandmothers.


In 1981, a young woman met with the then president of Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, María Isabel “Chicha” Mariani. She told her that a man called Madrid, who lived in City Bell, La Plata, brought up a girl that could be the daughter of disappeared parents. The grandmothers began to investigate. They learnt that Madrid’s wife could not have any children and they got the girl’s birth certificate, which stated that the baby had been born at home, not in a hospital, which seemed suspicious to them. In 1987, after the blood tests, the girl was returned to her real family.

When, Elena met her grandmother at the Court, she only said: “if you are my granny, take me home now.” So she did. Elena was brought up by her uncle and aunt. But she always visited her grandmother and once she told her: “I would like to know where my parents are. I would like to take some flowers to them to the cemetery.”


The proceedings start tomorrow at the AMIA Jewish community centre in the city of La Plata.

Madrid and Elichalt are in pre-trial detention. In 1991, they were acquitted by Federal Judge Manuel Blanco, so this would be the second time this case is examined in court. In 2006, Elena requested the tribunal to reopen the case. Lovelli confirmed that the verdict will be delivered on Friday, then Elena might get the truth and the justice she has been searching for.


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Tags:  Argentina  Dirty War  AMIA  

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