Human Rights groups in
“The Federal Criminal Court number 1 in
Julio Lopez, went missing exactly a year ago, on the eve of the land mark conviction of Miguel Etchecolatz, the first military officer to be sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity and genocide committed during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship. Lopez was last seen walking near his home in
Lopez's testimony of his detention as a political prisoner from 1976-1979 in clandestine detention centers was key in the conviction of Etchecolatz. Testifying before a court in
Since Lopez's disappearance, little headway has been made in the investigation of his whereabouts. Much of the evidence recently released has been tracked to the federal prison where Etchecolatz and another 100 military officers are imprisoned. Phone calls from the prison and note’s from Etchecolatz’s personal agenda lead to a clear trail that Lopez was under surveillance in the days leading up to his kidnapping.
At a press conference, Myriam Bergman, human rights lawyer handling the case of Lopez's disappearance, says she worries that much of the evidence has been filtered to protect the kidnappers. “A year has gone by since Julio was kidnapped and the disappearance of the comrade and there's still no one under investigation in the case. Human rights organizations have given the only serious tip offs being investigated. The investigators have waited months to investigate them. They allowed the suspects under investigation to know they were being investigated.”
Human rights groups are pointing to Etchecolatz and other military officers currently jailed in the V.I.P. Marcos Paz Federal prison while facing trial for human rights crimes. For Margarita Cruz, a torture survivor from the
To listen to this radio story visit, www.fsrn.org. For videos on human rights in
http://mujereslibres.blogspot.com/ Marie Trigona
Renegade Eye Addendum: Mr. James Reiss wrote this very thoughtful review of a radio story produced for Free Speech Radio News on the one year anniversary of the disappearance of Julio Lopez.
Last week marked an important first anniversary. The Argentine human rights activist, Julio Lopez, disappeared on September 18, 2006, the very day that the Director of Investigations of the Buenos Aires Police, Miguel Etchecolatz, was imprisoned for human rights abuses, including the torture of Lopez.
Free Speech Radio News reporter Marie Trigona has been tireless in exposing military and police brutality in Argentina, reminiscent of much worse abuses during the "dirty war" military government years from 1976 to 1983. Under the current civilian Nestor Kirchner administration, 256 "bad cops," former military personnel and members of the military government, have been accused. So far, however, only 3 have been tried.
The situation in Buenos Aires may not be as bad as in, say, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma), where an ultra-repressive military junta is now facing a standoff of thousands of protesting Buddhist monks. But Trigona's lone voice in the wilderness is a wakeup call for American listeners, distracted by huge headlines, who yawn at news stories relegated to the back pages of "The New York Times." Right now the kidnapped septuagenarian construction worker Julio Lopez may possibly be the equivalent of Myanmar's Nobel-Prize winning dissident, Aung San Suu Kyi -- if Lopez is alive. My guess is that he isn't. As to his whereabouts, the most we know is nada. The plot stagnates.
Back when he was on the scene, in his court testimony, Lopez's description of undergoing prolonged bouts of torture with electric prods in La Plata during 1976 makes for graphic radio. Otherwise, Trigona's matter-of-fact "Letter from Buenos Aires" passionately underscores her view that -- forget about Hamlet's Denmark -- something is rotten in Argentina.
(Reviewer) james reiss
September 24, 2007