Former Transavia pilot Poch released on bail

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An Argentinian federal court has ordered the release on bail of Julio Poch, a former pilot of Dutch charter airline Transavia. Mr Poch, who lived in the Netherlands for years, was extradited by Spain on charges of killing opponents of the Argentinian military regime, which ruled the country between 1976 and 1983. The former pilot is accused of throwing drugged prisoners from airplanes over the Atlantic Ocean.

The federal court put his bail at 26,000 euros and ordered Magistrate Sergio Torres to 'broaden' the investigation into Mr Poch's alleged crimes. The charges brought against the former pilot were dismissed in October because they did not link the accused to the crimes under investigation.

Mr Poch has been in custody since his arrest in the Spanish city of Valencia in September 2009, just hours  before boarding his last flight before retirement. Early this year, Spain extradited him to his native Argentina. Mr Poch has consistently denied any involvement in the so-called ‘death flights’.

At a dinner on the Indonesian island of Bali, Mr Poch reportedly told some colleagues from Transavia about his involvement in the death flights during Argentina's military dictatorship. Argentinian magistrate Sergio Torres launched an investigation based on these statements.





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