A Buenos Aires federal court condemned four former officers to 25 years imprisonment and acquitted a former sergeant for crimes against humanity committed during Argentina’s latest civic-military dictatorship. The trial, known as ABO 5, is the fifth in a series of investigations into a network of three clandestine detention centers — “Atlético,” “Banco” and “Olimpo” (ABO).
Federal judges Jorge Gorini, Rodrigo Giménez Uriburu, and Nicolás Toselli handed 25-year sentences to former Federal Police deputy commissioner, Carlos Infantino, former military police chief Hugo Luis Medina, former military police lieutenant Sergio Raúl Nazario, and former military police sergeant Miguel Lugo.
The judges also acquitted former military police sergeant Miguel Víctor Pepe, despite the defense having requested life imprisonment for him.
All five were being held for charges of unlawful deprivation of liberty, torture, and homicides of 382 victims.
The Atlético operated in the Supply Division of the Argentine Federal Police. The Banco was located in the livestock stealing division of the police of the province of Buenos Aires, in the La Matanza district. El Olimpo was part of the Maintenance division of the Argentine Federal Police. The investigations into all three and the previous four trials proved ABO network operated from early 1977 until the first months of 1979.
Outside the court, located in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Retiro, members of human rights organizations celebrated the ruling, sheltering from the rain with umbrellas or huddling under gazebos.
“I’ve been the victim of a fable written for the sole purpose of making a credible story to damage me,” Nazario said in his closing statement. He described the defense as “a group of vigilantes who have been bewitched.”
Medina also claimed his innocence. “There is no worse condemnation than the one given to an innocent,” he said, and added that there was “no evidence” that he committed the “horrific crimes” he is accused of.
The trial began in June last year after previous trials proved that the same centers operated with the same personnel and the same repressive tactics.
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