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Latino Daily News

Friday July 6, 2012

Argentine Junta Leader Sentenced to 50 years for His Role in Baby-Stealing Scheme

Argentine Junta Leader Sentenced to 50 years for His Role in Baby-Stealing Scheme

Photo: Jorge Rafael Videla

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Former junta leader Jorge Rafael Videla was sentenced Thursday to 50 years in prison for his part in a systematic plan to steal children from political prisoners during Argentina’s 1976-1983 military regime.

The scheme, which often involved holding pregnant women until they gave birth and then executing them, was part of a “general plan of annihilation” targeting a segment of society seen by the military as subversive, the court found.

The trial involved more than 30 specific instances of child stealing.

Sentenced along with Videla were one of his successors as junta chief, Reynaldo Bignone, who received a 15-year term; Adm. Antonio VaƱek, 40 years; Lt. Cmdr. Jorge Eduardo Acosta, 30 years; and Gen. Omar Riveros, 20 years.

The 87-year-old Videla, who listened impassively Thursday as the verdict was read, is already serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity.

Human rights organizations have established the true identities of 105 people who were taken from their jailed parents in given in adoption to military families or others close to the dictatorship.

More than 400 additional cases of alleged child stealing are pending.

The Argentine military regime killed as many as 30,000 people and brutalized thousands more.