Argentina Baby Theft Trial Sees Former Dictators Convicted

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By Myles Collier , Christian Post Contributor
July 6, 2012|9:12 am

Two former Argentinian military leaders who ruled the country during the late '70s and early '80s were found guilty for orchestrating the theft of babies from political prisoners.

Jorge Rafael Videla, 86, was given the maximum sentence of 50 years after he was found directly responsible for stealing 35 babies from political prisoners killed during the country's military dictatorship. The 50 years will be added to the life sentence Videla is currently serving for human rights violations.

Reynaldo Bignone, 84, Argentina's last dictator was sentenced to 15 years in prison which will be added to the 25 years he is already serving, as reported by AFP.

The court heard testimony of how babies were "systematically" abducted from leftist dissenters who were seen as a threat to the military junta's continued rule.

The trial began in February 2011 and saw 11 other individuals, the majority of whom were former military and police personal, facing charges. Seven were convicted and two were found not guilty, according to AP.

Human rights groups say that during military rule 30,000 people were killed or disappeared as left-wing guerrillas opposed the military's rule.

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One of the victims, Macarena Gelman, was happy to see those who were responsible brought to justice, adding the conviction was "historic."

"To see the faces of those responsible is a sign that justice is making progress," she told EFE news agency.

According to reports, Gelman was raised by a police officer in Uruguay after her Argentine parents were abducted in 1976.

It is thought that about 400 babies were taken from their parents, who were being held in detention centers during the military's rule, but activist state that number is far too low. To cover up the abductions, the babies were illegally adopted by military families and to date only about 100 of those babies have uncovered their true identities.

 

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