December 4, 2013
FOR 1976 forced DISAPPEARANCE OF CONSCRIPTSaturday, August 17, 2013
Milani’s former chief indicted
A former military officer yesterday was charged with the forced disappearance of conscript Alberto Agapito Ledo during the last dictatorship, a case in which the controversial new head of the Army César Milani is also under investigation.
Tucumán Federal Judge Daniel Bejas yesterday decided to indict Milani’s former chief, Esteban Sanguinetti. Sanguinetti was the head of La Rioja’s battalion Number 141 that was transferred in 1976 to Tucumán to take part in the so-called Independence Operation, which set the basis in that northern province for what would be the repression nationwide.
Sanguinetti was arrested last week, when he spontaneously appeared before Judge Bejas. Due to his age, Sanguinetti was placed under house arrest in Tucumán.
Ledo was studying history at university and was a Workers’ Revolutionary Party (PRT) activist. He was called for military service and he disappeared on June 17, 1976, when he accompanied Sanguinetti to monitor the area. The military presented Ledo’s disappearance as a “desertion.” Milani, who was a second lieutenant at the time, signed a report saying that Ledo had deserted, and alleged that he was following orders. Echoing Milani’s words Sanguinetti said— while he was questioned last week— that he ordered him to write the report.
“Soldier Ledo was like any other soldier to me. I couldn’t have recognized him because I had more than 150 soldiers under my responsibility,” Sanguinetti said.
Bejas did not indict the former military as the perpetrator of Ledo’s disappearance and urged the prosecutors to deepen the investigation to determine how the conscript was abducted. He will have to decide if he calls Milani for questioning, as it was suggested by the press days ago.
Graciela Ledo, the conscript’s sister, told the Herald that she did not have any information regarding Milani’s situation at court.
In June, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner decided to reshuffle the armed forces and she appointed Milani as the Army’s new chief. The appointment prompted the reaction of some human rights groups while opposition leaders voiced their criticism.
Now that his former chief has been indicted the investigation could focus on Milani.
“I think the investigation is making progress. Sanguinetti is not the only one responsible for my brother’s disappearance; his superiors were responsible and so were those who who abducted and tortured him,” Graciela Ledo said minutes after having learnt about Sanguinetti’s indictment. She celebrated the decision and said that justice was closer to being served.
Police officer arrested for ‘dirty war’ crimes
One of the policemen accused of the abduction of Clara Anahí Mariani Teruggi, Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo’s founder María Isabel “Chicha” Mariani’s granddaughter, was arrested in Gualeguay, Entre Ríos province. Néstor Ramón Buzzato will have to appear before Judge Manuel Blanco.