Saturday
July 26, 2014

Two cases reported

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Army chief probe: complaints of harassment in La Rioja

By Luciana Bertoia
Herald Staff
While the judicial investigation against General César Milani for illegal detentions committed in La Rioja province is currently paralyzed, people linked to the case have been reporting scare tactics.

Norma Illanes has been the head of the teachers’ training college Joaquín V. González in Chilecito, La Rioja province for more than 20 years but last week she was removed from her position.

She is the sister of Álvaro “Yopo” Illanes, who was the first witness to identify Milani as the military officer in charge of conscript Alberto Agapito Ledo, who was then forcibly disappeared in June 1976. Ledo was serving compulsory military service at the Engineers Battalion Number 141 in La Rioja province before his company was sent to Tucumán, where troops were deployed to take part in the so-called Operation Independence, a repressive mission ordered in 1975 during president María Estela Martínez de Perón’s administration and which set the basis for the repression unleashed by the 1976 dictatorship.

Álvaro Illanes was Ledo’s friend and knew that Milani was Ledo’s commander. Juan Carlos Illanes, Álvaro’s brother, also met Ledo while he was in the armed Peronist group Montoneros in Tucumán. Both had a quick chat in which Ledo explained he was then second lieutenant Milani’s assistant. That was the last time a member of the Illanes family saw the 21-year-old History student.

“We are still demanding justice. We don’t want impunity in Ledo’s case,” Álvaro Illanes told the Herald days ago, also making reference to the persecution allegedly suffered by his sister Norma.

The woman, a well-known educator in Chilecito who is also opposed to mining in Famatina, was removed from her position while the authorities investigate a report filed by a teacher married to a Border Guard agent who said Illanes prevented her from entering the school while the premises were taken over by parents last month.

“This is the most serious sanction a teacher can have,” Norma Illanes said in conversations with the Herald, expressing her concern.

“My brother Álvaro is very committed to this case. He was the first person to testify in court. We are sure that this is related to the Milani case,” the teacher added.

This is not the first case of threats and dismissals reported in La Rioja province since the Milani investigation was reignited.

Last month, the AFSCA media watchdog removed María Elisa Reynoso from her position as Martín Sabbatella’s representative in the province. Reynoso is a lawyer who is representing Ledo’s mother and sister.

AFSCA official Gustavo Hurtado said that the department “was not happy with her performance” and dismissed any political implications behind the measure.

However, the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo from La Rioja province considered that her removal was a “reprisal for defending the victims.”

Brizuela de Ledo said in conversations with the Herald that the province was jolted by persecution.

“Milani has political support that we don’t have but we have the truth,” the 83-year-old lady said.

@lucianabertoia

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