Aging ex-junta officer back to prison in Argentina


Buenos Aires (AFP)

A court in Argentina on Friday ordered an octogenarian former police chief convicted of execution and torture to return to prison, after his home detention sparked protests.

Miguel Etchecolatz, 88, is serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity carried out during the South American country's military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.

The judges ruled on Friday that his health is compatible with detention behind bars.

Since December 27 Etchecolatz, former Buenos Aires police commissioner, had been living in a house at the seaside resort of Mar del Plata, where demonstrators protested his release from prison.

Initially convicted in 1986 for the execution and torture of 91 people, he received amnesty before being tried again in 2006, when he was sentenced to life.

Human rights groups say about 30,000 people disappeared -- presumably killed -- during the junta's "Dirty War."

According to Argentina's prosecutor for crimes against humanity, more than 500 former junta officials were under home detention at the end of last year while roughly 450 others were serving their time in prison.