May 21, 2013
ESMA: Astiz and other 11 former military sentenced to life in prison
Former navy official Alfredo Astiz and former navy captains Jorge “Tigre” Acosta, Antonio Pernías, and Ricardo Cavallo were sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday night after being found guilty of kidnapping, torture and the forced disappearances of many detainees in the former Navy School of Mechanics (ESMA) during the last dictatorship.
Also, oppressors Oscar Montes (former navy admiral), Jorge Radice (former navy lieutenant),Adolfo Donda (former navy captain), Alberto González (former navy captain), Julio César Croronel (former navy lieutenant), Ernest Weber (former ESMA special operations), Néstor Savio (former navy lieutenant), and Raúl Scheller (former intelligent service agent) were also sentenced to life in prison.
Likewise, Juan Carlos Fotea (former Federal Police sargent), and Manuel García Tallada (former ESMA boss) were senteced to 25 years in prison; while Carlos Capdevila (former navy captain) was sentenced to 20 years, and Juan Antonio Azic (former navy patrol member) to 18 years in prison.
Meanwhile, former intelligent service agents Juan Carlos Rolón, and Pablo García Velasco were acquitted.
As the sentence was read in the courtroom the crowd waiting outside celebrated and cheered, which almost caused it to be suspended.
Astiz, who acted under the false identity of Gustavo Niño, infiltrated the works of the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in 1977 and “marked” his victims, who were later tortured at the ESMA and thrown alive into the sea.
Among them were the founder of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Azucena Villaflor, French nuns Leónie Duquet and Alice Domon, and journalist and writer Rodolfo Walsh.A long line of people was seen outside the courtroom since early in the afternoon, as many of them wanted to hear the reading live.
Relatives of the accused were seen standing in line next to family members of those who had disappeared.
The Federal Courthouse 5 had called the hearing for 6 pm.
Early on Wednesday morning, three of the accused were given the chance to provide the court with their last statements before the reading.