(Never Again) - Report of Conadep
The case of the Pallotine Fathers
In mid-1976 three Priests and two seminarists belonging to the Pallotine Order were killed, They were living in a parish in Buenos Aires. According to his own boastful statements Lieutenant Pernia Participated in the operation. (Testimony of Graciela Daleo and Andrés Castillo, file No. 4816.)
On the morning of 4 July 1976 Alfredo Leaden, Pedro Duffau and Alfredo Kelly, priests of the Pallotine community of St Patrick, were assassinated, along with two seminarists, Salvador Barbeito and Emilio Barletti. The clerics were shot to death in the church of St Patrick in the, Belgrano district of Buenos Aires city.
Father Alfredo Leaden was fifty-seven'years old and a member of the Irish Pallotine Congregation; Father Pedro Duffau, aged sixty-five, was a teacher: and Father Alfredo Kelly, aged forty, was the director of the Catechism Seminary in Belgrano, and a teacher in the College Of the Worshippers of the Blessed Sacrament. Salvador Barbeito, aged twenty-nine, was a seminarist, a Philosophy teacher, a Psychologist and a catechist, as well as being a rector at the San Marón College. Emilio Barletti, aged twenty-five, was a seminarist and a teacher.
Friends and members Of the congregation of the assassinated clerics said that they had always prayed for peace and condemned violence.
On the night of the crime, neighbours saw a black Peugeot parked outside the church for a long time, with four men inside, as well as a patrol car which first stopped and then drove off. The killers were obviously waiting for all the priests to go into the building before they made their move.
The first people to go into the priests' house the following morning found slogans written on the walls and on the carpet, though they were later rubbed out. These slogans said: 'This is how we get revenge for our colleagues of Federal Police Headquarters' (where a lethal bomb had been placed in the refectory a short time previously), and, 'This is what happens if you poison the minds of the young'.
Possessions and papers were stolen from the house.
On 7 July the Bishops' Conference sent a protest to the Military Junta which said, among other things:
We have considered the serious acts of violence that have shaken the country recently and, in a way that is unprecedented, deeply wounded the heart of 'the Church. We are referring, of course, to the unspeakable murder of a religious community in the Parish of St Patrick, Buenos Aires.
On 5 July during a sermon given by the priest of the Order of the Assumption, Roberto Favre, in the church of St Patrick, it was said: 'it is necessary to pray to God not only for these deaths but for the innumerable disappearances that are taking place every day...
The incident took place at the same time as a file was received marked 'confidential' which contained documents on the Pallotine Fathers - the priests of the parish, Alfredo Leaden and Pedro Duffau, and the seminarists, Jose Emilio Barletti and Salvador Barbeito. The person who gave the testimony added that the activities of the Ministry of the Interior included watching Third World priests, and there was an archive of 300 names with detailed information on the activities of each of them. With reference to the case of the Pallotine Fathers, the person who gave the testimony had a telephone book in his possession that had belonged to one of the priests, which he was keeping as proof that the documents were in a dependency of the Ministry of the interior at the time in question ... (Declaration by Peregrino Fernández, a former officer in the Argentine Federal Police, to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances of Persons, in the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations based in Geneva.).