The Supreme Court on Monday confirmed a 25-year prison sentence against former Santa Fe provincial policeman Mario Alfredo Marcote, one of the torturers of current Buenos Aires Province Health Minister Daniel Gollán during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship.
Marcote, nicknamed “el cura” (“the priest”) due to the massive crucifix he wore around his neck at all times, worked at a clandestine detention centre operating out of Santa Fe provincial police headquarters between 1976 and 1979. He has already been convicted in various trials for multiple crimes against humanity, including the rape of women who subsequently went missing.
According to witness testimony, Marcote was quoted as telling the hundreds of political prisoners held in the detention centre that “he was going to kill them all.”
Justices Carlos Rosenkrantz, Elena Highton de Nolasco, Juan Carlos Maqueda, Ricardo Lorenzetti and Horacio Rosatti unanimously knocked back Marcote’s extraordinary challenge as “inadmisible,” upholding his 25-year prison sentence for “illegal arrests … violent threats and tortures applied against those persecuted for political reasons.”
A medical student in Rosario, Gollán was a Peronist University Youth militant when he was abducted together with his brother, Juan José, in the small hours of July 27, 1976, being snatched from their beds and taken to the Information Service police department headed by Marcote where they were “savagely tortured.”
According to Gollán’s trial testimony, at the time of his arrest “one of them stuck a pistol in my mouth and asked: ‘Is this the one?’, hearing them reply: ‘He’s not the one but messes around in the same things.’ My elder brother and I were taken in the boot of a car to a building which I guessed to be police headquarters. We were taken down a staircase to a place where we were blindfolded, whereupon our interrogation began via tortures of every kind.”
The minister described these singularly cruel tortures as being tossed up in the air and allowed to fall to the ground and beaten up together with picana cattle prods and sub-marine immersion, along with other acts of torture.
Gollán, who served a nine-month term as national health minister in 2015, was held incommunicado for two months at the police headquarters before being transferred on September 30 to Coronda prison (also in the province of Santa Fe) where he remained until May 21, 1979.
He was then sent to Caseros prison in the national capital prior to his release on August 12, 1980, when he was forced into exile.