(Never Again) - Report of Conadep
Disappearance of Dr. Rafael A. Perrotta - File N° 1222
Dr Rafael Andrés Perrotta was the director-owner of the newspaper El Cronista Comercial. On Monday 13 June 1977 he left home with the intention of taking his daily walk on doctor's orders. He did not return, and several hours later his family was informed by telephone that he had been abducted and that they had best keep it secret to avoid further problems. That same day the kidnappers asked for a large ransom.
In the meantime, the family took steps to try to determine the victim's whereabouts and also to raise the enormous sum demanded. They contacted the Ministry of the Interior, the Central Police Department and other military establishments. It was in response to this that Colonel Morelli, Head of Federal Coordination, said he would allocate two trustworthy men, Inspector Arran and Deputy Inspector Iglesias, to head the investigation and to advise the Perrotta family on the steps to take in the negotiations with the kidnappers. It is worth noting that Dr Rafael Perrotta had recently sold his newspaper and that the kidnappers no doubt knew the terms of the sale. The payment of the ransom - as much as the family was able to raise - was made in cash, as demanded by the kidnappers. After this nothing happened, and the police investigators did not appear or even telephone the family home again.
The investigation carried out by the National Commission was able to establish that:
a) The Federal Police told them that the names of the police officers assigned to the case do not appear in their files.
b) There is no record of any action in relation to the kidnap.
c) The Argentine Army stated that Colonel Morelli died in 1979
However, this Commission was able to piece together evidence which establishes that Rafael Andrés Perrotta was at the time held in the secret detention centre known as COT I Martínez. Señor Jacobo Timerman, in his testimony added to file No. 4635:
'I also saw Rafael Perrotta, director of the Cronista Comercial who was "disappeared" in COT I Martinez. I saw him being tortured.'
The freed prisoner Héctor Mariano Ballent (file No. 1277) states:
Another time we were told to keep quiet because 'now we are going to bring old Perrotta in'. I recognized him because I had seen him when I worked in the government protocol department. It was indeed Perrotta, and he brought with him a shoe box containing a lot of medicines. This occurred between the 12, 13 and 14 July 1977; Perrotta was wearing a dark-grey pinstripe suit, a fancy shirt and patent leather shoes-, he was told to take it all off because he wouldn't be needing it any more.
The witness Juan Amadeo Gramano (file No. 3944) adds:
'I was held at that place [COT I Martinez] until July 1977. The journalist Rafael Perrotta was also held there.'
It is also worth noting that when a photograph of the disappeared journalist was shown in the presence of this Commission to another witness who has given details of this detention centre, he recognized him, having no doubt that he was a person he had seen there. He added that he was convinced that a barbecue held at COT I Martinez was in celebration of the ransom received from the Perrotta family.
On 22 June 1984 the deposition of these events was presented to the Criminal Court No. 1 in La