A torturer of the Argentine dictatorship (1976-1983), the former deputy police chief Miguel Etchecolatz, was sentenced to life imprisonment for kidnappings, torture and murder. This is the 8th sentence of this type for crimes against humanity for the former police officer.
Before the verdict was delivered on Wednesday, Miguel Etchecolatz, 91, stood up and showed off the white sign he wore around his neck, bearing the inscription: “Lord Jesus, if I am condemned, it is for having defended your cause “.
After a little over two years of trial, the Federal Court of La Plata sentenced the ex-official and 15 others for 84 cases of kidnappings, torture and murder.
These facts were perpetrated in the clandestine detention center of the San Justo Investigative Brigade, west of the capital. Of the 84 victims whose cases were tried, 19 are still missing.
Sixteen of the 17 defendants were sentenced, including 10 to life imprisonment. In addition to Etchecolatz, a police doctor, three former police officers, five former soldiers as well as the former minister of the government of the province of Buenos Aires during the dictatorship, civilian Jaime Lamont Smart, were thus sentenced to life imprisonment.
Disappearance of a key witness
Etchecolatz is also implicated in the disappearance in 2006 of Julio Lopez, a 77-year-old mason who had been a key witness in a lawsuit against him. This man, who had already been kidnapped before under the dictatorship, had left his house to go to court and had never made it.
Like him, some 30,000 people disappeared under the dictatorship, according to human rights organizations.
According to a court document, it was established that the San Justo Brigade was also “a center for the care and distribution of babies and children” because “there were detainees who had given birth in captivity as well as children. abducted with their parents “.