Argentina to announce sentence for Astiz

25th October 2011, Comments 2 comments

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

2 Comments To This Article

  • marcelo rodriguez posted:

    on 31st October 2011, 11:09:52 - Reply

    David, you have no idea about what you're talking about. My father went to the bank in Buenos Aires and after a bomb exploded was tortured for 2 days. We did not know where he was and whether he would come back to us. There were hundreds and thousands of breaches of human rights. You obviously have not lived through something like that. As children, we were in constant fear of the military. The abuse of power cannot be forgotten. If you only read and informed yourself, you may avoid writing idiocy like you just did.
  • David Crockett posted:

    on 26th October 2011, 13:04:44 - Reply

    So how come no mention was made of the communist guerrillas that plunged the country into the abyss of violence? Fortunately Argentina had sufficiently professional forces to destroy both the ERP and Montoneros (10,000 missing according to the guerrillas) and their underground supporters in the form of civilians.