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Argentine ex-army officers jailed over 'Dirty War' crimes against humanity

A court in Argentina has sentenced 19 former military officers to long prison terms for crimes against humanity during the country's military dictatorships in 1976-83.

The crimes included forced disappearances, murder, torture and kidnapping of children.

Among those sentenced was Gen Santiago Riveros, 98, previously convicted for other human rights violations.

He received a life sentence after being found guilty of more than 100 crimes.

The sentences were handed down by the federal court in the capital Buenos Aires on Wednesday.

It ruled that crimes were committed against some 350 victims.

Among them were six auto plant workers at the Mercedes Benz factory who were abducted by right-wing death squads for having union sympathies.

They were then tortured in the notorious Campo de Mayo detention centre run by Gen Riveros outside Buenos Aires.

Although they officially remain missing, it is believed they were killed some time after the kidnapping.

The investigating judges interviewed about 750 witnesses over the period of more than three years.

After a military junta led by Gen Jorge Videla seized power in Argentina on 24 March 1976, it began a campaign to wipe out left-wing opponents.

Some 30,000 people were killed or forcibly disappeared during the "Dirty War", as the campaign came to be known.


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