December 9, 2013
Menéndez sentenced to 20 years in prison
Former officer was considered guilty of abductions and torture in La Rioja
One the most notorious dictatorship chiefs, Luciano Benjamín Menéndez, was yesterday sentenced to 20 years in prison for abductions and torture perpetrated during the last military regime in Chilecito and Famatina, La Rioja province.
This is not the first sentence handed down to Menéndez. He has been before the courts for other causes, mainly as a result of his role during the dictatorship as head of the third Army Corp, which had of the repression in ten provinces of the country.
Though Menéndez was sentenced for crimes committed in 1977, he was not the only perpetrator who appeared before the Federal Oral Court in La Rioja province. Former Border Guard officers Eduardo Britos and Ricardo Torres Daram were also sentenced. Britos received a sentence of 15 years, and Torres Daram was given a suspended sentence of three years. Border Guard official Britos had fled to Paraguay, where he had to be extradited.
Four other members of that security force charged over several kidnappings, Normando Guillermo Torres, Candido Aroca, Jorge García and Hernán Pizarro, were acquitted by the tribunal.
Judges José Camilo Nicolás Quiroga Uriburi, Jaime Díaz Gavier and Karina Rosario Perilli gave the defendants the chance to deliver that final statements before reading the verdict.
Prosecutors had previously requested 25 years in prison for Menéndez, who had been sentenced for crimes against humanity. Meanwhile, the defence lawyers requested also the acquittal of all their clients.
Prosecutors noted that their crimes were “part of a systematic plan of extermination focused on political and social activists, workers, union leaders, professional workers, teachers, students, which was plotted by several powerful groups and implemented by the Argentine security forces.” For them, the repressive era did not begin on March 24, 1976 but some months earlier.
The case began when seven people from Famatina reported their abductions and torture in 1977 in the Border Guard squadron in Chilecito. The victims’ names are Teresa Robles de Maza, Santiago Nicolás Maza, Rosario Del Valle Manzur, Juana Antonia Manzur, Juan Antonio Leiva, Marcelino Reyes Leiva and Andrés Abelardo Angel.
Last year, the court sentenced Menéndez, Luis Fernando Estrella and Domingo Benito Vera for the murder of two priests Carlos Murias and Gabriel Longueville.
Herald staff with Télam,DyN
Ford Co. Executives near trial.
Courtroom No. 1 of the San Martín Appeals Court confirmed the indictments of Pedro Müller, Guillermo Gallaraga and Héctor Francisco Jesús Sibilla, former executives chiefs of the automaker during the 1976-83 military dictatorship. Each was remained in custody. The tribunal comprised of judges Marcelo Fernández, Hugo Fossati and Lidia Soto ratified the decision of Judge Alicia Vence, who heads the investigation into the disappearance of 24 workers from Ford Co. It was also proved that a clandestine detention centre was installed within the plant and that detentions occurred between March and August, 1976. Currently, the role played by businessmen during the genocidal process is being studied by the courts.