The prosecution and the defense in the Fernando Báez Sosa murder case have submitted appeals to the verdict.
On February 6, Máximo Thomsen, Ciro Pertossi, Matías Benicelli, Luciano Pertossi and Enzo Comelli were handed life sentences, while Ayrton Viollaz, Blas Cinalli and Lucas Pertossi were condemned to 15 years in prison for taking part in the crime.
Now, the prosecution is asking the Buenos Aires Province Court of Appeals to sentence Viollaz, Cinalli and Pertossi to life in prison as well.
The prosecutors Juan Manuel Dávila and Gustavo García, who had asked for life sentences for all the defendants during the trial, argued that there were no separate “roles” in the crime, and that all eight young men “acted equally”.
On the other hand the defense, led by lawyer Hugo Tomei, has asked the same court to acquit the three young men, and sentence those who received life sentences for the lesser charge of homicide in a fight, with two to six years in prison. Tomei argues that the trial should be annulled, claiming that it was beset with “irregularities” from the beginning of the investigation, including “falsified files”, “biased judges” and “violation of the principle of consistency”.
The Baez Sosa family, represented by lawyer Fernando Burlando, has stated that they will appeal the sentence too, insisting on life in prison for all the murderers.
A deeper conversation
Báez Sosa’s killing sparked a debate among Argentine society about the appropriate punishment for his murderers, including many questions about life sentences and punishment in the Argentine legal system. The Baez Sosa family asked for all of them to serve life in prison, but abolitionists and human rights advocates have warned against arbitrarily demanding such long sentences.
Earlier today, the National Committee for the Prevention of Torture, a public organization that works to address torture and human rights violations within the prison system, said in a statement that life sentences should be applied “exceptionally” and should be guided by international human rights agreements.
According to the committee, Argentine prison inmates face “inhumane conditions” and “constant” challenges having their rights respected. In the years 2004 and 2017, changes to the enforcement of sentences laws restricted the possibility of transitional releases, parole, and conditional release for some crimes. Thus, in cases like the murder of Baez Sosa, the men will have to serve 35 years in prison without the benefit of resocialization or temporary outings before then.
“The sentences for homicide, which only contemplate life in prison as an option, should be rethought urgently,” said the statement.