Former colleagues testify about role Poch

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Eight witnesses have been heard in the trial of former Transavia pilot Julio Poch in The Hague. They are to provide clarity about what the Argentinian pilot reportedly said about his role in the so-called death flights during the Argentinian military dictatorship.

The eight are all former colleagues of Julio Poch. Four of them have testified against Poch, who according to them said he was involved in the ‘death flights’. During the 1970s and 1980s, the military regime drugged a number of opponents and had them thrown from planes flying over the Atlantic Ocean. The four other former colleagues say Poch never said a word about his possible role in the death flights.


According to Liesbeth Zegveld, lawyer for the four witnesses testifying against Poch, there is nothing unusual about the witnesses being heard a second time, nor about the fact that this happened at the request of an Argentinian examining magistrate. However, it would be unthinkable that facts like the remarks made by Poch in 2003 about even older facts such as his possible involvement in the death flights could lead to a conviction in the Netherlands. Even more so because such a conviction would be based exclusively on witness statements.

And yet, Ms Zegveld does not want to trivialise her clients’ statements. “They stand as they stand” In addition, her clients were “under great pressure from colleagues and former colleagues to change their statements”.

Over the coming weeks, the eight witnesses will be heard behind closed doors by a Dutch judge at the request of the Argentinian examining magistrate, who is trying to obtain more evidence after a senior Argentinian court ruled in December that Poch was to be released on bail because of insufficient evidence.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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