Scilingo trial witness tells of baby thefts

27th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 January 2005, MADRID-A witness at the trial of an Argentine ex-officer charged with genocide, murder and torture under his country's 1976-1983 military dictatorship told how theft of dissidents' babies and torture were routine. "There was a systematic plan to make people disappear and steal children so that they did not grow up in the households of 'subversives,'" witness Maria Isabel Mariani told the trial of Adolfo Scilingo, who stands accused of genocide, 30 cases of murder, 93 of causing injury, 255

27 January 2005

MADRID-A witness at the trial of an Argentine ex-officer charged with genocide, murder and torture under his country's 1976-1983 military dictatorship told how theft of dissidents' babies and torture were routine.
 
"There was a systematic plan to make people disappear and steal children so that they did not grow up in the households of 'subversives,'" witness Maria Isabel Mariani told the trial of Adolfo Scilingo, who stands accused of genocide, 30 cases of murder, 93 of causing injury, 255 of terrorism and 286 of torture.

"In Argentina a whole generation is missing, wiped out for their beliefs," Mariani told the court.

Human rights organisations estimate that some 500 babies were taken from their families and that only around 70 were ever reunited with their parents.

Mariani further told how, on 1 August, 1977, her son was killed at the house of a friend.

"They shot him dead and finished him off with kicks," Mariani related.

Scilingo, who says he is innocent of all charges, faces up to 6,626 years in jail if found guilty.

Mariani is one of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo pressure group demanding justice for up to 30,000 of victims of the military junta.

In her own case, her niece Clara Anahi disappeared without trace, abducted on 24 November, 1976, by police near Buenos Aires following a raid on the house of her son, Daniel Mariani, and daughter-in-law, Diana Teruggi.

Mariani is just one relative of victims of Argentina's "dirty war" who have brought charges against Scilingo, 58, the first person linked to the dictatorship to be tried abroad in person.

On Monday, Scilingo denied during testimony that he had been involved with death squads who threw the drugged bodies of dissidents out of planes, thus retracting statements he made in 1997 to Spanish investigating magistrate Baltasar Garzon.

He is also accused of involvement in abuses at the ESMA naval mechanics school in Buenos Aires, a notorious centre of torture, rape and murder where some 5,000 disappeared during the dirty war against suspected leftists.

Argentina agreed in 2003 that Spain could try Scilingo as there were no equivalent charges pending against him in Buenos Aires and the trial began in Madrid's High Court on 14 January.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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