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Argentina offers money reward for information on missing 'dirty war' witness

Argentina offers money reward for information on missing 'dirty war' witness

Authorities on Friday offered a reward for help in finding a key witness against a man charged with torture during Argentina's former military dictatorship and President Nestor Kirchner postponed a planned trip to deal with the second such disappearance in recent months.
The Buenos Aires provincial government said it will pay 400,000 pesos (US$130,000; euro98,500) for information on the whereabouts of Luis Angel Gerez, 50, who has accused retired police chief Luis Abelardo Patti of torturing him in 1972 during Argentina's 1966-73 military regime.
President Nestor Kirchner on Thursday met with top security officers to coordinate the search for Gerez. The president postponed a trip to his native southern province of Santa Cruz where he planned to spend New Year's Eve.
Gerez is the second "dirty war" witness to vanish recently. Julio Lopez, whose testimony was instrumental in sentencing former police chief Miguel Etchecolatz to life in prison for the disappearance of six people, went missing on Sept. 18.
Gerez was last seen leaving a friend's home Wednesday night in Escobar, a town just north of the capital of Buenos Aires. Provincial security minister Leon Arslanian suggested that former security agents might have seized Gerez to intimidate potential witnesses in other human rights cases stemming from the military dictatorships.
According to official figures, some 13,000 people were killed or made to disappear in the "dirty war" by military rulers against leftists and other political foes.
In testimony before a congressional committee, Gerez said he had been arrested and given electric shocks. He said that although he was blindfolded, he recognized Patti's voice.
As a result of Gerez's testimony, Patti was prevented from assuming a congressional seat he won in October 2005.


Updated : 2021-04-11 16:21 GMT+08:00