Ex-officer faces 17,000 years in jail for genocide

11th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

11 January 2006, MADRID — A former Argentine naval officer, Ricardo Cavallo, faces up to 17,000 years in jail if found guilty of genocide.

11 January 2006

MADRID — A former Argentine naval officer, Ricardo Cavallo, faces up to 17,000 years in jail if found guilty of genocide.

Prosecutors asked at a preliminary hearing that Cavallo serve this record-breaking prison term if convicted.

He is accused of charges of genocide and terrorism, dating back to Argentina's 1970s Dirty War.

Cavallo, who denies the charges, was appearing at a Madrid court.

His case was investigated by Baltasar Garzon, the crusading Spanish judge best known for his attempt to prosecute the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Human rights activists have hailed Spain's case against Cavallo as a victory for the concept of "universal jurisdiction" - which allows crimes committed in one country to be tried in another.

Cavallo fought extradition since being arrested in Mexico in 2000.

He was finally extradited to Spain in 2003.

The former naval officer is accused of belonging to a special operations group of the Argentine military that was actively involved in kidnapping and torturing people perceived as leftist.

Judge Garzon alleges Cavallo tortured prisoners at the Argentine Navy Mechanical School, one of the most notorious centres of repression during the country's "dirty war".

He is said to be linked to the disappearance of 227 people and the kidnap and torture of 110 others, among them women and children.

Cavallo has denied involvement in any human rights abuses.

He was arrested in the southern Mexican resort of Cancun in 2000 after a newspaper report said that five former political prisoners had identified him as their torturer.

Up to 30,000 people were killed or disappeared during the Argentine military government's campaigns against leftist opponents.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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