France okays extraditon of dictatorship-era police officer
A French court has upheld a request filed by Argentina to extradite ex police officer Mario Sandoval accused of crimes against humanity committed during the South American country’s last military-civil dictatorship. Sandoval has been charged with 601 cases of human rights violations but will only be prosecuted over the forced disappearance of Hernán Abriata.
The prosecution courtroom of the Paris Appeal Tribunal issued the resolution in support of the Argentine position but only in the case to probe the disappearance of Hernán Abriata, a student who was illegally detained at his parents’ home in October 1976.
The courtroom president Jean Bartholin explained that “accusation elements were not enough” to allow the extradition of Sandoval to have him charged over the more than 600 cases investigated by Argentine Judge Sergio Torres.
Bartholin also pointed out that Argentina will be only able to sentence the former police agent with a maximum of 15 years in prison, as established in the 1976 Penal Code, if found guilty.
The lawyer representing Argentina in France, Sophie Thonon, urged French judicial authorities “to do everything that is possible to prevent Sandoval from escaping.” Sandoval will continue to remain free under judicial control and Argentina will be only able to request higher security measures if evidence shows the defendant is seeking to elude the court process.
Sandoval has been living in France since the 80´s, working as lecturer and consultant in foreign policy. He was granted French nationality in 1997.