Police hunt former Argentine president in Spain

12th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

12 January 2007, BUENOS AIRES — Police in Spain were on Friday hunting for the former president of Argentina for alleged human rights abuses.

12 January 2007

BUENOS AIRES — Police in Spain were on Friday hunting for the former president of Argentina for alleged human rights abuses.

An Argentine judge issued an international arrest order for former president Maria Estela Martinez, the widow of Gen. Juan Peron, in the case of the disappearance of a young man during her 1974-76 government.

Federal judge Raul Acosta, who presides in the city of San Rafael in the western province of Mendoza, sent an official request to Interpol to arrest Martinez - who lives in Spain - after finding her responsible for signing three decrees authorizing security forces to "disappear" opponents of the regime.

"At the time of the relationship of the accused with the case, she was the leader of the country. The arrests in San Rafael came within the framework of those decrees and were made by the army and the Mendoza police," said the judge in remarks to a local radio station.

Martinez, known as "Isabelita" Peron, succeeded President Peron as chief of state upon his July 1974 death. She resides outside Madrid.

Acosta is investigating the disappearance of Hector Aldo Fagetti Gallego in February 1976, one month before the military coup that deposed Martinez.

The judge found the disappearance was made possible by Martinez's signing of the three decrees in 1975 authorizing the armed forces to "destroy the activities of the subversive elements," a move that he said implies an act of terrorism by the state.

Martinez's lawyer, Atilio Neira, said in remarks to Buenos Aires' Radio 10 that he was waiting to see "how the detention order will be resolved" and he said that he had not had "any communication" with the 75-year-old former president.

The three decrees created an Internal Security Council and enabled provincial governments to sign agreements that placed "under their operational control" police and prison personnel and resources to be used immediately in the rightist government's fight against "subversion" by real or imagined enemies.

They also enabled the armed forces to "proceed to execute military and security operations ... (that were) necessary ... to destroy the activities of subversive elements throughout the country's territory."

Meanwhile, Argentine Judge Norberto Oyarbide, who said late last month that Martinez could be subpoenaed to testify in the case he is presiding over into the activities of the Triple A rightist death squad blamed for some 1,500 deaths between 1973-75.

Oyarbide has declared that the roughly 1,500 politically motivated killings blamed on the Triple A constitute "crimes against humanity" and, as such, are not subject to the statute of limitations.

The Triple A arose from a sharp right-left cleavage within the ruling Peronist Party.

When Juan Peron returned to Argentina from exile in the early 1970s, he decided for reasons of political expediency to tilt in favour of the right, leading some disgruntled left-wing Peronists to resort to guerrilla action.

In response, the Triple A, which was made up overwhelmingly of police, and military men and funded by the Social Welfare Ministry, began assassinating left-leaning intellectuals, activists and even public officials.

In recent weeks, two of the group's former chiefs, Rodolfo Almiron and Juan Ramon Morales, were arrested in Torrent, Spain, and Buenos Aires, respectively, on warrants issued by Oyarbide.

Romeo, who headed the magazine El Caudillo, one of the ultra-rightist group's publications, lives in the Argentina capital and works as a restorer of old buildings, the Pagina/12 newspaper reported Thursday.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

0 Comments To This Article