The judiciary during the Repression
(Never Again) - Report of Conadep
Disappearance of Laura Noemí Creatore - File N° 107 - and of Carlos Hugo Capitman - File N°
They were kidnapped in the street on the afternoon of 28 March 1976, with two fellow university students, Alicia Amelia Arriaga and Carlos Spadavecchia, as they were entering the building where Carlos Hugo's father had his accountancy office.
They were pushed violently into a patrol car and taken to Police Station No. 3, Buenos Aires City; Spadavecchia had his personal effects returned to him in this same place when he was eventually freed.
Still blindfolded and hooded, they were apparently transferred to the headquarters of the 601st Intelligence Unit situated in Calles Viamonte and Callao, and then the next day to a remote, desolate place, which seemed like an abandoned house. There they were 'savagely tortured with an electric prod to all parts of the body', according to Señorita Arriaga.
They were then taken to another house that they were unable to identify. They were made to face sham executions, given no covering despite the cold weather, and fed on bread and water until 12 April.
On 15 April, Arriaga and Spadavecchia were taken for a long drive and then left in a field in Benavidez. Just prior to that Laura Noemí Creatore and Carlos Hugo Capitman had been taken away from the detention centre. They have not been heard of since.
On 30 April a writ of habeas corpus was presented on behalf of Capitman. The Ministry of the Interior acknowledged in Decree No. 39/76 that the four young people had been put at the disposition of the National Executive.
At this point Carlos Hugo's father applied to the judge in the National Court of Criminal Sentencing, letter 'C', for information from the above-mentioned Ministry about the place of detention. The judge refused his request on the grounds that it was not relevant since there was no crime. An appeal against this decision was rejected by the higher court.
The father was particularly concerned to send Carlos Hugo medicines he needed for his epilepsy. He then tried to find out through an injunction where and in what conditions Carlos Hugo was being held. After repeated appeals by the judge to the Chief of Staff, 1st Army Corps, he was informed that Carlos Hugo Capitman and Laura Noemí Creatore had been released on 10 September 1976 under Decree No. 1907/76. In spite of this, neither of the young people reappeared.
On 21 October the judge asked the Commander of the 1st Army Corps for a report concerning the circumstances of their release. It was not until 10 December that the Commander replied, saying he was not in a position to provide this information at that time. In view of this, the judge issued a resolution on 22 February 1977, declaring the injunction valid and authorizing Dr Capitman to demand proof of his son's release from the Ministry of the Interior. This ruling was appealed by the public prosecutor and the case passed to the Appeals Chamber where fifteen months after the first instance ruling, the decision was reversed. It recommended sending details of the case to the Armed Forces' Supreme Council for it to consider whether or not an illegal act had been carried out.
When the OAS Inter-American Human Rights Commission visited Argentina, Dr. Capitman presented his son's case so that they could request information from the government. Complying with the Commission's request, the government for the first time provided concrete details of Carlos Hugo's release, saying that he had been released from a police station in Ciudadela on 9 September. It also said that he had left the country accompanied by Laura Creatore on 10 September 1976, on Austral Flight No.
310 to Carrasco (Uruguay).
Dr. Capitman then questioned the airline and was told that they could not give details of passenger lists. When the Commission made the same request, the information was unavailable since the relevant lists had been destroyed. In addition, no evidence could be found, either then or now, of the arrival of two passengers with those names at Carrasco airport.
As far as the police station in Ciudadela was concerned, the Police Headquarters of Buenos Aires province informed the Commission that 'all documentation was destroyed in an attack on this station'. When the Commission asked for a copy of the report giving details of the attack, the reply was that it could not be found.
According to Señorita Arriaga:
... the only reason I am alive and was released is that, despite all the torture, I always denied being a member of any subversive organization. This was not the case with Carlos Hugo and Laura. I could hear that, broken by torture, crying out in agony, they were saying yes to everything they were asked