Abril 21, 2007

Argentina Refuses to Extradite Videla

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- Argentina will not send former junta
leader Jorge Videla to Germany to face charges in the abduction and
murder of a German woman during the South American nation's Dirty War.

A criminal law court on Tuesday rejected Germany's extradition request
for Videla, wanted in the March 1977 kidnapping and killing of activist
Elisabeth Kaesemann. The court ruled crimes committed in Argentina are
first subject to its judiciary.

In the past, denying extradition effectively thwarted prosecution, but
the repeal in 2005 of long-standing amnesty laws opened the door to a
landslide of cases.

Prosecutors say Kaesemann, a 30-year-old sociologist, was abducted by
state agents acting at the behest of the military. She was reportedly
active in student and human rights issues early in the 1976-1983
dictatorship as the state waged a Dirty War against dissent.

Nearly 13,000 people are reported officially as dead or missing from
seven years of junta rule, but human rights groups say the toll is more
than twice that.

''The case for which Videla's extradition is being sought is the subject
of investigation and prosecution in the Argentine republic,'' the court
said in a statement, adding that Argentina reserves the right to try
''crimes against humanity'' committed on its soil.

After her March 1977 abduction, Kaesemann was last reportedly seen alive
two months later at the clandestine ''El Vesubio'' detention center in
the capital.

Her bullet-riddled body was later found dumped on the outskirts of
Buenos Aires. The de facto government originally claimed she had been
killed in an armed clash between security forces and ''subversive

Kaesemann's parents filed suit in a German court against Videla,
charging he was responsible for her death and demanding he be tried in
Kaesemann's homeland.

Videla is currently under house arrest in Argentina while being
prosecuted in several investigations of human rights violations of the

Posted by marga at Abril 21, 2007 12:46 AM | TrackBack
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