- Argentina - human rights - justice - torture
AFP - The former general who ran a base that was the backdrop for multiple abuses during Argentina's 1976-83 dictatorship was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for human rights violations.
Santiago Omar Riveros, 86, who commanded the Campo de Mayo barracks near Buenos Aires, was found guilty of torturing and beating to death 15-year-old Floreal Avellaneda, and abducting his mother, Iris.
The teenager and his mother were arrested at their home a month after the March 1976 military coup.
Iris told the court they were both tortured to find out the whereabouts of her son's father, who had managed to escape capture by jumping from his rooftop when neighbors warned him of the police raid.
"They applied an electric current to my armpits, breasts, mouth, genitals and did exactly the same to my son" she told the judges. "I started to scream... They asked me where his father was, but I did not know."
The teenager's corpse later washed up on the Uruguayan coast, bound hand and foot, with a deep wound in one leg and signs of beating, prosecutors said.
The mother was released after nearly three years of detention.
The youth's father, who shares the same name, said he was satisfied with the verdict, but called for Riveros to receive no clemency.
"The sentence must be served in a common prison. Even if he dies in prison, he will never suffer what we suffered," said the former Communist Party union leader.
Former Buenos Aires police chief Fernando Verplaetsen was also sentenced on Wednesday, receiving 25 years in prison in connection with the crimes.
Four other defendants were sentenced to between eight and 18 years.
Riveros was first convicted in 1985 and pardoned in 1989, but was later charged with kidnapping babies, children and other of the era's so-called disappeared.
He joined the Inter-American Defense Board, which was linked in the 1970s to Operation Condor, a plan hatched by South American dictators in the 1970s to eliminate their political opponents in the region.
Some 5,000 prisoners were held at the Campo de Mayo barracks during Argentina's dictatorship, according to human rights groups.
During the years of junta rule, some 30,000 people vanished and are still unaccounted for.