Argentina seeks life sentence for Astiz

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A government lawyer called Friday for a life sentence for former Argentine naval officer Alfredo Astiz for crimes including the murder of two French nuns during the 1976-1983 dictatorship.

"I consider him to be jointly responsible for the crimes of kidnapping in 12 cases, jointly responsible for the crime of aggravated torture and aggravated murder in five cases," said Martin Rico, a lawyer for the Human Rights Ministry, in the trial for crimes committed at the notorious Naval Mechanics School (ESMA).

The 59-year-old Astiz, nicknamed 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.

The court still is to hear recommendations from the attorney general, which has also intervened in the case.

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.

© 2011 AFP

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