Julio was the prosecutor in charge. He needed help. And we knew each other from the university, so he invited me to support him. And he gave me the task: I need to lead the investigation. And we cannot use the police, because the police was involved in the crimes.
So, what we did, we used the victims to produce the evidence. So, the Truth Commission identified the victims. We first selected the best cases. Then we called the victims, the survivors, asking more details. Who saw — who watched you when you were abducted? There was habeas corpus or criminal proceedings. So, we collect all of these documents and prove well the abduction. Then the victims told us about their own torture and how they watched other people being tortured. And then we show the killings showing people who were abducted before and then appear dead, and the Army recognized they killed them, but they invented that it was they killed them in a fight, in a battle. And we show it was a fake battle, so these people were abducted before.
In this way, in four months, with this group of young kids, who were just meeting the victims, meeting the people, receiving them in the office, we produced the evidence. We produced 2,000 witnesses in four months. And that transformed the case, because the witness testimonies transformed the perception of what happened during the dictatorship.
In Argentina, human rights icon Hebe de Bonafini died Sunday at the age of 93. Bonafini was one of the founders of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in 1977, after two of her sons were disappeared by Argentine security forces during the country’s brutal U.S.-backed military dictatorship. Bonafini and other mothers of the disappeared led frequent protests in Buenos Aires’s Plaza de Mayo in defiance of the dictatorship, wearing white scarves on their heads, which became a symbol of their struggle. In the decades that followed, they continued to fight for justice for the tens of thousands of people disappeared, tortured and killed during Argentina’s “Dirty War.”
The UK armed the Shah’s “autocracy” and directly aided his brutal security service in the decades leading up to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, declassified files show.
After the UK helped overthrow Iran’s government in 1953, the Shah became the biggest recipient of UK arms exports in the world
Whitehall helped prop up his regime with army, airforce and navy training teams
UK Foreign Office gave propaganda support to SAVAK, Iran’s security police, as it held thousands of political prisoners
“Iran is an autocracy and all power flows from the Shah”, the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) wrote in an internal file of April 1975. At the time, the UK had an array of military training teams in Iran and a contract to sell its ruler, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, over 1,500 tanks.
Before the 1979 Islamic revolution swept the Shah’s power away, his extremely repressive regime had been one of Britain’s closest allies in the Middle East for a quarter of a century.
It is something many Iranians, now demonstrating against another autocratic regime in Tehran, have never forgotten.
On Thursday, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez led a tribute in memory of scientists Alicia Cardoso, Dante Guede, Roberto Lopez, Liliana Galletti, Mario Galuppo, Federico Lüdden, Manuel Saavedra, and Martin Toursarkissian, who disappeared during Jorge Videla’s dictatorship (1976-1981).
“If the dictator Videla feared anything, it was ‘thought’,” Fernandez said while delivering documents with detailed information about the eight researchers to the audience.
“Regardless of their political affiliation, all Argentinians must unite to condemn the dictatorship’s brutality,” he stressed, adding that those who do not so are denying the greatest tragedy in Argentine history.
The tribute was possible thanks to the investigations carried out by Memory Commission of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), which listed the researchers who disappeared during the dictatorship.
On Thursday, Argentina celebrates the National Remembrance Day for Truth and Justice to recall the March 24, 1976 coup d’état, which overthrew the government of Maria Martinez de Peron.
El Salvador’s Supreme Court has reopened a criminal investigation into the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests carried out by a U.S.-trained death squad during the Salvadoran civil war. Their housekeeper and her daughter were also killed. Five of the priests were from Spain, and one was Salvadoran. There have been ongoing attempts to prosecute all of those involved in the massacre, since a 1993 amnesty law was declared unconstitutional in 2016. A Spanish court in 2020 sentenced former Salvadoran Colonel Inocente Orlando Montano to 133 years for the killings of the Spanish priests. He’s the only person linked to the massacre currently behind bars.
In a development that was celebrated by champions of democracy around the world, Chilean voters this weekend elected a progressive slate of delegates to the constituent assembly tasked with rewriting the country’s right-wing constitution, which was imposed more than 40 years ago during Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship and has continued to reproduce inequality for over three decades since the end of his rule. After a U.S.-backed coup toppled and murdered Chile’s democratically elected socialist president Salvador Allende, on September 11, 1973, Pinochet’s regime implemented a wave of pro-market policies under anti-democratic circumstances at the behest of economists trained at the University of Chicago.