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Monday, August 15, 2022

Argentina. Military junta officers responsible for “death flights” sentenced to life imprisonment

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A federal court in Buenos Aires sentenced to life imprisonment four former Argentine air force senior officers in the service of the military junta that ruled the country from 1976-1983. It happened almost 40 years after they had committed countless killings on civilians.

Four former senior Argentine air force officers were recognized as executors of junta orders, as a result of which nearly five thousand people were tortured. The vast majority of them lost their lives.

In the statement of reasons announced on Tuesday, it was stated that as members of the command of the 601st military aviation battalion stationed in the so-called May Camp, they are directly responsible for the so-called death flights. This is how the world media called the method of liquidating members of the opposition on the orders of the junta.

“Death Flights”

Sentences were carried out almost always the same after long interrogations of the victims. Suspects of opposition activities, as well as the bodies of those who did not survive the torture, were loaded into military planes or helicopters at night.

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The right-wing military junta ruled Argentina from 1976-83Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

The machines then flew over to the sea. At a considerable distance from the shore, the living and the dead were thrown from the deck.

Former members of the staff of the 601st Air Battalion sentenced by a federal court include Commander Santiago Omar Riveros, Assistant Commanders Luis del Valle Arce and Delsis Angel Malacalza, and Operations Officer Eduardo Maria Lance. The oldest of them is 98 years old.

Among the witnesses heard by the court during the trial, which lasted almost two years, there were almost 400 military men who were then on duty in the May Camp.

Main photo source: Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

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