Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2007

Court throws out coup leaders’ amnesties

April 26, 2007

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— A federal court threw out amnesties Wednesday for two leaders of Argentina's military dictatorship, saying they must serve their life terms in prison for crimes against humanity.

Former military President Jorge Videla and Navy chief Eduardo Massera were leading members of the 1976-1983 military junta that waged a "dirty war" against political opponents, seizing and killing about 9,000 people, according to official records. Human rights groups put the death toll closer to 30,000.

Sentenced to life terms in 1985 following Argentina's return to democracy, Videla and Massera were granted amnesties five years later by President Carlos Menem, who freed them from a military prison in what he called a gesture of national reconciliation.

Wednesday's decision, read to The Associated Press by a clerk for the Federal Criminal Court, declared the amnesties to be unconstitutional. It is likely to be appealed.

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