Saturday, 3 May 2008

Argentina: Activists Face Threats and Violence

A former desaparecido who was an important witness in human rights cases has been freed after being held for over 24 hours and physically assaulted.

Human Rights Activist Is Released by Captors in Argentina (Yahoo)

Juan Evaristo Puthod is not the first witness to face intimidation and even forced disappearance: Jorge Julio Lopez, an important witness in the trial of Miguel Etchecolatz, was abducted in September 2006 and has not been seen since. Although the perpetrators of such crimes remain unidentified, the evidence clearly points to those involved with or supporters of the past military dictatorship. Such despicable tactics aim to shortcircuit the judicial process using the same threats and dissemination of fear that was employed by the junta and its agents.

On a related note, the daughter of Hebe de Bonafini, president of the Asociacion Madres de Plaza de Mayo, has received threats in her house in La Plata. It is not the first time that Bonafini or members of her family experience intimidation or physical violence in an effort to silence her vocal criticism of the past regime and its agents. Again, the tactics used here - targeting Bonafini's child - are an exact echo of the events of the dictatorship during which her two sons were disappeared.

"Vamos a matar a tu mama" (Pagina/12)

It's clear that despite Argentina's democratic progress, there are still elements within its society that will use any means, including violence, to prevent an engagement with human rights.

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