Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Argentina/Spain: Pilot Arrested

Update: for more background on the flights, see here and here.

A commercial airline pilot with dual Dutch and Argentine nationality was arrested yesterday in Spain in connection with the 'flights of death' during the so-called dirty war.

Julio Alberto Poch was detained during what was supposed to be a brief stopover in Valencia on the way to Amsterdam. Argentina had issued an international arrest warrant, but Poch's Dutch citizenship had meant he was not extradited from that country.

"He [Poch] was a regular pilot on the flights from Schipol airport [in Amsterdam] to Valencia," Spanish police said. "The officers who arrested him at Valencia's Manises airport made sure there were minimal problems for the passengers, with another pilot already arranged in advance." (Guardian)

Poch served in the Argentine Navy during the dictatorship and worked at the ESMA, the largest clandestine detention centre. He is wanted in four open cases for his alleged involvement in the flights in which prisoners were drugged, bound, and then pushed out of aeroplanes into the sea. He will now be remanded in custody while his extradition is processed.

'Dirty war pilot' held in Spain
Pilot arrested over Argentina 'death flights' (Guardian)
Detuvieron en Espana a un militar implicado en los "vuelos de la muerte" (Clarin)
Detuvieron un piloto acusado de participar en los vuelos de la muerte (Pagina/12)
Un represor con perfil en Facebook (Critica) [for a rather different perspective]
Prision para un piloto por los 'vuelos de la muerte' argentinos (El Pais) [for more details on the Spanish legal situation]

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