Monday, 14 July 2008

Argentina: Convictions for Masacre de Fatima

Two Argentine former police officers have received life sentences for their part in the so-called Masacre de Fatima in 1976, in which 30 people were murdered.

News reports are contradictory here: Reuters states that of the three defendants, Carlos Gallone and Juan Carlos Lapuyole were convicted, and Pagina/12 concurs, noting that the third, Miguel Trimarchi, was acquitted. However The Buenos Aires Herald has this the other way around; Lapuyole was freed and Trimarchi found guilty.

It is clear that Gallone was convicted, and I've had an interest in him since I first saw this image several years ago:In this image Gallone is embracing a member of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo during a protest in 1982. It's a very strange, arresting image; you just don't see members of the security forces embracing human rights activists, and in the early 1980s, before the end of the dictatorship, you definitely didn't. Also, look at the horrified faces of the two women in the background.

It's not clear exactly what led to this emotional encounter; the Madres themselves reported that the women was not hugging Gallone, but attempting to beat his chest with frustation and despair. Much to the anger of the Madres, however, Gallone later tried to claim that this photograph proved his 'good relationship' with the human rights movement - hence, he must be a nice guy, hence, he couldn't be a murderer.

Fortunately, this isn't much hard evidence for a court, and it seems that Gallone's past has finally come back to him.

On the conviction:
Argentine police get life term in 'dirty war' case (Reuters)

Life Sentence for Fatima Massacre (Buenos Aires Herald)

Dos ex policias condenados a prision perpetua (Pagina/12)

Ex-Argentine cops convicted for "Dirty War" massacre
(The Latin Americanist)

On the background of the image:
Fotos con historia (Memoria Abierta)

Trucho como un abrazo de represor
('Yo tengo buena relacion con los organismos de derechos humanos. Soy el que aparece en la foto con una madre de Plaza de Mayo', Pagina/12)

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