Argentine captain on French nuns murder charge

21st May 2004, Comments 0 comments

BUENOS AIRES, May 19 (AFP) - A former Argentine navy captain who has come to embody military brutality under Argentina's last dictatorship was charged Wednesday in the deaths of two French nuns.

BUENOS AIRES, May 19 (AFP) - A former Argentine navy captain who has come to embody military brutality under Argentina's last dictatorship was charged Wednesday in the deaths of two French nuns.

Alfredo Astiz, dubbed "The Blond Angel of Death" for his role in extrajudicial killings, and three other former officers were charged with the kidnapping and presumed murder of 12 people, including nuns Alice Domon and Leonnie Duquet.

The charges in an Argentine court reduce the possibility that French courts will be able to have Astiz extradited.

Judge Sergio Torres charged the men with crimes against humanity committed at the infamous Navy School of Mechanics, which was converted into a torture center during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship.

France's extradition request was rejected in September by a court in Bahia Blanca, 700 kilometers (420 miles) south of Buenos Aires.

In October, Argentina's Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa said the government would extradite Astiz if Argentine courts approved.

"Judge Torres opposes the extradition because Astiz must first face Argentine justice," a court source told AFP.

Astiz was convicted in absentia in 1990 by a Paris court for the murder of the nuns.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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