Germany issues arrest warrant of Argentina ex-Junta chief

Germany has issued an arrest warrant for former Argentine dictator Videla on charges of murdering a German man, state prosecutors said.

Germany issues arrest warrant of Argentina ex-Junta chief

Germany has issued an arrest warrant for former Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla on charges of murdering a German man, state prosecutors said on Friday.

The 84-year-old former general, who has been indicted in Argentina for stealing babies born to political prisoners and giving them to supporters during his 1976-1981 rule, led one of South America's bloodiest dictatorships in the 1970s.

"We have issued an arrest warrant against the former Junta chief," said Thomas Koch, spokesman for prosecutors in the southern German city of Nuremberg.

Koch said it was unlikely Argentina would extradite Videla, but Germany had renewed its appeal to the international community to arrest him, making it risky for him to travel abroad.

As many as 30,000 people were kidnapped and killed during Argentina's so-called "dirty war" crackdown on leftist dissent, according to human rights groups.

Koch said Nuremberg prosecutors had discontinued their investigation into the murders of Germans during Videla's dictatorship several years ago due to lack of evidence.

"Now however, the remains of one individual have been identified and we know that this person was murdered, which is why we could pick up the investigation once again," he said.

German media said the murdered man was called Rolf Stawowiok.

In 1998 a judge in Argentina ordered Videla's arrest in connection with the baby theft. In jail only briefly, due to his age he was placed under house arrest.

Time is running out for prosecutors. Most of the military leaders of the 1970s are now in their 80s.

Reuters
Last Mod: 22 Ocak 2010, 22:37
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