Argentina to announce sentence for Astiz
An Argentine court is expected to rule Wednesday on the crimes of former naval officer Alfredo Astiz, including his alleged murder of two French nuns during the country's 1976-1983 dictatorship.
The 59-year-old known as the "Blond Angel of Death" has already been tried and sentenced to life in absentia by a French court for the murder of Alice Domon and Leonie Duquet, who disappeared in December 1977.
Ten human rights activists were also abducted at the time.
Official figures say 9,000 people were kidnapped, tortured and killed in what became known as Argentina's "Dirty War," but many believe the real number to be closer to 30,000.
On May 6, a government lawyer called for a life sentence for Astiz, who is accused of participating in the nuns' kidnapping while he worked for GT332 (Task Force 332) based at the ESMA Naval Mechanics School in Buenos Aires.
Duquet and four other women were allegedly thrown alive from an airplane in late 1977 as it flew high above the South Atlantic.
The other women allegedly hurled from the plane were members of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a rights group formed by female relatives of people killed or missing during the dictatorship years.
The bodies of Duquet and the four Argentine women were discovered in 2005 at a seaside cemetery buried under headstones that read "NN," or no name. Locals buried the remains after the tide washed their bodies ashore.
Hundreds of dictatorship-era victims are known to have been thrown alive into the ocean on similar so-called "flights of death."
© 2011 AFP