(Never Again) - Report of Conadep
Those who were able to talk about their experience
Oscar D. (file No. 2943) was sixty-five years old. On 22 February 1977 a group of armed men, dressed in civilian clothes, broke into his house looking for his sons. 'You must come with us to your son's house,' he was told, and he went there with his wife Raquel:
We saw how they searched the house of our younger son [who is still disappeared]. They ransacked the whole place and partially wrecked it. Afterwards they blindfolded us and tied our hands.
After changing cars they put Raquel in the back in a crouching position, and Oscar was squashed into the boot. When they arrived at the detention centre:
The cells were approximately 1.20 by 2.50 metres in size. My wife was put into a cell with seven other women and I was in a room with the same number of male prisoners. The heat and the stench was unbearable. They gave us one meal that was more like pig-swill (it was the only time we were allowed out of the cell every twenty-four hours for fifteen minutes).
On the morning of 3 March (ten days later) we 're-appeared'. They threw me into a field fifteen blocks away from Glew Station, unconscious, without shoes and dressed in rags. My physical state was atrocious and I must have been on the brink of death. I walked with considerable difficulty to the house of my eldest son who lived nearby and I found my wife, alone in the house, in such a state of shock that she did not recognize me.
Oscar and Raquel were held prisoner for ten days. For five of those Oscar was given electric shock treatment and beaten until he lost consciousness.
Héctor Maríano Ballent (file No. 1277) had been protocol director to the provincial government of Buenos Aires. He was kidnapped on two occasions. The first was when he was in the office of Provincial Governor St. Jean, and the second was when he was at home. Three civilians, one of whom was certainly a member of the police, 'invited' him to have a talk in a car. They covered his eyes with sticking plaster, put a hood over his head, tied his hands behind his back and flung him into a room saying, 'Here are some friends of yours.'
On the second day spent on the floor, in the most wretched conditions of hygiene, food and clothing, an officer with the code name 'Roma' came to the room, picked me up, undressed me and then applied the electric prod to my body for an hour.
Señor Ballent was kidnapped, and among those who disappeared to the Prisoners' Centre called COT 1 Martínez, from 17 May to 13 or 14 July 1977. His testimony is clear and extensive on the type of hell that he lived through for two months in this place and in other secret detention centres.