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Former Argentine dictator faces more trials

by Staff Writers
Buenos Aires (AFP) Dec 31, 2010
Former Argentine dictator Jorge Videla, sentenced last week to life in prison for the execution of political opponents, faces two more trials next year for alleged human rights abuses, a court source said Friday.

Videla, who headed a military junta from 1976 to 1981, will have to answer to charges in the cases of 33 babies who were taken from political prisoners and adopted by families close to the regime, the Judicial Information Center said.

The last dictator of the military regime, Reynaldo Bignone (1982-83) and other former armed forces chiefs also have been accused in those cases.

About 500 babies were stolen during the dictatorship, according to the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an organization which has so far been able to track down and identify 102 of them.

The trial is scheduled to begin March 7 in Buenos Aires.

Videla, 85, and other former military leaders also have been charged with crimes against humanity in another trial that opens March 15 in the northern city of Tucuman.

The former army chief is currently imprisoned at the Campo de Mayo military base 30 kilometers northwest of Buenos Aires, serving a life sentence for the execution of 31 political prisoners in the city of Cordoba early in the dictatorship.

He previously had been sentenced to life in prison in 1985 but was amnestied by then president Carlos Menem.

The amnesties were annulled during the presidency of late Nestor Kirchner from 2003-2007, opening the way for the trials.

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