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ARGENTINA | 13-08-2021 21:01

Court sentences duo to more than 20 years in jail for rape of prisoners at ESMA

Two already convicted human rights offenders from the 1976-1983 military dictatorship receive additional sentences for sexual crimes committed at ex-ESMA Navy Mechanics School.

Two infamous human rights violators were sentenced to more than 20 years in prison on Friday for crimes committed during the last military dictatorship (1976-1983). 

Jorge "Tigre" Acosta of ESMA Naval Mechanics School detention centre notoriety was sentenced to a further 24 years for sexual offences against at least three female prisoners there between 1977 and 1978 by the Tribunal Oral Federal 5 court, which also added a further 20 years to death squad member Alberto González. 

Both men are already serving life sentences. The court rejected the statute of limitations since the charges were crimes against humanity, even though over 40 years have gone by. 

The convictions relate to sexual crimes committed against three women between 1977 and 1978 who were held at the ex-ESMA, a place where a clandestine maternity hospital operated, facilitating the theft of babies from their mothers.

In this trial, both were found guilty of "aggravated rape” involving two or more people and additional repeated rapings on at least 10 occasions, crimes that are considered against humanity. 

"There are many others who even today cannot talk about what they did to them, what happened to them. Because they do not understand that if they had not submitted, they would have been passengers on some death flight. Finally, like other repressors, the head of the ESMA task force and one of the officers have been convicted as rapists, "said Miriam Lewin, one of the victims.

Sexual offences are latecomers to the accusations of human rights violations from that period with the first conviction only coming in 2010 in Mar del Plata, 25 years after the junta trial. 

During the Argentine dictatorship there were some 30,000 enforced disappearances, according to human rights organisations.

– TIMES/AFP/NA

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