Federal Criminal Court No. 1 this week sentenced four men to jail terms for crimes against humanity committed at the clandestine detention centre known as Automotores Orletti.
Automotores Orletti was based inside an old car-repair garage located in the western neighbourhood of the City of Buenos Aires. Hundreds of foreign citizens kidnapped under the so-called “Condor Plan” in Latin America were tortured there during the last dictatorship. The “Condor Plan” was a coordinated strategic plan of repression and torture carried out in the 1970s by the military dictatorships that were at the time ruling Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.
At the time, Orletti was under the control of the now-dissolved State intelligence agency (SIDE) and its actions were coordinated with the help of Argentine and Uruguayan Armed Forces.
On Monday, Federal Criminal Court No. 1 handed down prison terms of six years for federal policemen Rolando Nerone and oscar Gutiérrez, 16 years for former intelligence agent César Enciso and 25 years for José Ferrer, also a federal police officer. Enciso, who went by the alias “Pino,” was extradited in November 2013 from Brazil. He was remanded in custody as soon as he arrived in Argentina and was sent to the courts in the context of a megatrial addressing crimes that included the kidnapping of four people who remain disappeared.
This week’s sentencing came as part of a third trial addressing crimes against humanity committed by clandestine repressive units in orletti. The site was the epicentre of Condor-related crimes in Argentina, where left-wing political activists enrolled in the PRTERP (Workers’ Revolutionary Party-People’s Revolutionary Army) and the Uruguayan PVP (Party for the People’s Victory) were kidnapped, tortured and finally disappeared.
The first trial – held in May 2016 – recognised the existence of the “Condor Plan” and identified it as an institutionalised criminal system of three stages: identifying opponents, their murder or kidnapping in the South American countries and, finally, the neutralisation of those in exile outside the region.
The plan was suspended after the assassination of Orlando Letelier in Washington in September 1976 at the hands of a Chilean former intelligence agent and the CIA. Letelier served as foreign minister in the government of Chilean president Salvador Allende.
by Ildefonso Thomsen. On Twitter: @Ildefonsom