Former Uruguay leader detained

Gregorio Alvarez charged over disappearance of political dissidents in 1970s.

    Alvarez ruled Uruguay between 1981 and 1985 [EPA]
    Prosecutors say that Alvarez was in a position to know about the illegal crackdown on dissidents, both as former army commander-in-chief and, later, as de facto president.
    Mirtha Guianze, the prosecutor, called Alvarez a "co-author of repeated crimes of abuction".

    Forced disappearances

    Alvarez said in an earlier court appearance that he knew nothing of illegal abductions and forced disappearances, but courts rejected his efforts to challenge the constitutionality of the investigation.

    He could be sentenced to 25 years in jail if he is convicted.

    "At 82 years old, I am going to die in jail"

    Gregorio Alvarez, Uruguay's former military leader

    "At 82 years old, I am going to die in jail," the former military leader said in an interview last week.

    "I am going to lose physical freedom, but I will gain other freedoms, psychologically, and also expressing myself politically, economically and legally, which now I do not do out of respect for society."

    The prosecutors say political prisoners were brought in from Argentina in a secret airlift as part of Plan Condor, in which South America's military governments co-operated to crush dissent.

    The military ruled Uruguay between 1973 and 1985, while Argentina was under military leaders from 1976 until 1983.

    About 150 Uruguayan activists, believed to have been seized by governments of the era, remain missing.

    Argentines are still seeking information about nearly 13,000 officially listed as dead or missing from the period of military rule.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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