Former Argentine Gen Eduardo Cabanillas Jailed

Former Argentine Gen Eduardo Cabanillas has been sentenced to life in prison for running a notorious detention centre during military rule in 1976-83.

Former army intelligence operative Raul Guglielminetti, sitting left, former agents of Argentina's intelligence agency SIDE, Honorio Ruiz, sitting second from left, and Eduardo Ruffo, sitting third from left, and former Army Gen. Eduardo Rodolfo Cabanillas sit in court before their sentencing in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday March 31, 2011. Cabanillas was sentenced to life in prison, Guglielminetti to 20 years in prison, while Ruiz and Ruffo where sentenced to 25 years in prison, as they were charged for illegal imprisonment and torture of 65 prisoners during the Dirty war in the Orletti garage, a tactical operations center for Operation Condor, a coordinated effort by South America's dictatorships to eliminate dissidents who sought refuge in neighboring countries.

Three former intelligence officers were also convicted of murder, torture and illegal imprisonment.

Around 200 left-wing activists were kidnapped and taken to the Automotores Orletti secret prison in Buenos Aires.

Most of the victims were Uruguayan, but there were also Chileans, Bolivians, Peruvians and Cubans.

Thousands of Argentines were tortured and murdered in other centres run by the armed forces.

The crimes were part of Operation Condor, a coordinated campaign by South American military rulers to crush opposition movements.

Former intelligence agents Honorio Martinez and Eduardo Ruffo were sentenced to 25 years each, and former military intelligence officer Raul Guglielminetti was given 20 years.
Stolen baby

The sentences were welcomed by Macarena Gelman, whose parents were detained in the secret prison and torture centre, which was disguised as a mechanical workshop.

"It is a little bit of justice when we need so much," she said from Uruguay.

Her father Marcelo Gelman was killed after being taken to Automotores Orletti, and his body dumped in a river in a cement-filled drum.

Her mother Maria Claudia Garcia, who was pregnant when she was abducted, was later taken to Uruguay and made to disappear.

Macarena Gelman was born in captivity and raised by a Uruguayan policeman, discovering her true identity only in 2000.

Operation Condor was devised in 1975 by military officials from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Its aim was to silence the opposition by sending teams into other countries to track, monitor and kill dissidents.

Around 30,000 people were killed or made to disappear by the armed forces during military rule in Argentina, a period known as the "Dirty War."

BBC