Monday
December 22, 2014

Overheard former military officer talk about death flights

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dutch pilot testifies in ESMA case against Poch

By Santiago Del Carril
Herald Staff
A Dutch pilot yesterday confirmed earlier statements that implicated former navy officer Julio Poch of having committed crimes against humanity, saying that Poch admitted to him privately in 2003 that he had participated in the infamous “death flights” of the last military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1976 to 1983.

Tim Eisso Weert gave his testimony through a video conference call from Holland as part of the third ESMA human rights trial.

The so-called death flights were used to execute political prisoners by throwing them into the River Plate in an attempt to ensure that their bodies could not be traced.

Weert testified that he and his colleague, Edwin Reijnoudt Brouwer, had overheard Poch at a 2003 dinner in Bali, Indonesia, admitting to having participated in “death flights.” Poch had been working with them in the Dutch-French airline Transavia at the time.

“The witness testified that Poch had explained the capacities of the different planes used in the death flights,” said Centre for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) lawyer Mónica Zwaig who represents ESMA victims in the case.

Poch has denied participating in the death flights, claiming that the Dutch pilots misunderstood him.

“Defence lawyers asked many questions and tried to establish doubts about whether the witnesses confused the use of the first and third person,” Zwaig told the Herald.

The other Dutch pilot, Brouwer, is scheduled to give testimony today.

@delcarril

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