Human remains in mass grave confirm Argentina secret death camp
Friday, December 12, 2008
During a seven-month search, the(EAAF) on Tuesday, confirmed more than 10,000 charred human bone fragments were unearthed between February and September, in a pit at Pozo de Arana, a former , secret government detention center. The Arana prison or police station was used to torture prisoners during the so-called Argentina " ," and was one of 300 used to interrogate Argentine prisoners.
The war refers to the state-sponsored violence against Argentine citizenry from roughly 1976 to 1983 carried out primarily by's military government. The exact chronology of the repression is still debated, as trade unionists were targeted for assassination as early as 1973. 's "annihilation decrees" of 1975, during , have also been suggested as the origin of The Dirty War.
The official record reveals that up to 13,000 people disappeared, while 30,000 were killed during this time. Argentine security forces and death squads worked hand in hand with other South American dictatorships in the frame of. An Argentine court would later condemn the government's crimes as and " ".
EAAF president and forensic scientist Luis Fondebrider said that "in 25 years of searching, this was the first time that human remains were found at a former detention cente; the magnitude of what the team has found where the Clandestine Center of Arana was located, merits that sometimes they show partial results." He further noted that "the bodies had been burned inside graves along with tires, combustibles and other material; and the possibilities of identifying some of these remains is low because of the state they are in." Fondebrider concluded that "this scientifically confirms the testimonies of the detained, the hundreds of survivors who have said for years that authorities tortured, killed and burned the bodies of political opponents."
The anthropological discovery further reveals that a wall with more than 200 bullet marks or holes and an "important quantity" of usedon the ground nearby, were found adjacent the mass pit grave. As evidence of executions, they were marked with red paint by forensic scientists. The team, however, failed to determine how many bodies the fragments represented.
Maria Vedio, 47, legal chairwoman for thesaid that " this is the first time there is proof that Arana wasn't only a detention and torture center, but also a center of elimination."
Sara Derotier de Cobacho, secretary of human rights forsaid, "I ask the forgiveness of family members, because I can imagine what the mothers and all who are gathered here will feel, but what we are about to show is not to detail the genocide but so that we have proof for the trials that are to come; but let us not forget, that behind every clandestine center there were the names of the repressors. ... so it is very important for all citizens to know those names; we are looking for the truth so we can attain justice and construct, from there, the memory of our 30,000 'desaparecidos'."
Some of those responsible for thehave been charged and meted life or death sentences. They include , a senior Argentine , who worked in the during the first years of the military dictatorship known as the . He was convicted and sentenced to in 2006, on charges of , , and . The tribunal, besides handing the sentence, stated that Etchecolatz's committed " in the context of the that took place in Argentina". But the principal complainant, who was detained at Arana, has since disappeared.
- "Mass grave found at Argentine secret prison" — , December 11, 2008
- Jeannette Neumann. "10,000 bone pieces confirm Argentina death camp" — , December 11, 2008
- "Bones remains found in Argentine former detention centre" — , December 11, 2008
- "Bone Fragments Discovered at Argentine Torture Site" — , December 11, 2008
- Daniel Schweimler. "Human remains found in Argentina" — , December 10, 2008
- "10,000 bone fragments found in former Argentine detention center" — , December 10, 2008
- The Associated Press. "Thousands of Human Bone Pieces Found in Argentine Jail" — , December 9, 2008