Friday, 2 October 2009

Argentina: What Did All Those Security Guys Do During the Dictatorship?

Well, they need to earn a living, right? Many former soldiers who were involved in human rights abuses during the 'dirty war' are now working for private security firms, according to civil rights groups in Argentina. In general, there are dubious links between state security systems and private enterprise. Here is just one example of a criminal getting back into the security business:

[Lawyer María del Carmen] Verdú mentioned a case that highlighted the lack of oversight and enforcement of the laws prohibiting the hiring of private security agents with a dubious past: the case of Buenos Aires assistant police chief Jorge Ramón Fernández, found guilty of torturing to death 17-year-old Sergio Durán in 1992.
The legal ruling against Fernández, handed down in 1995, was the first to prove that the police continued to use the "picana" or electric shock device - a favourite torture technique used on political prisoners during the dictatorship.
Fernández was released from prison in 2003, just eight years after he was sentenced to life in prison. Four years later, CORREPI discovered that he was working for the Segur Part security firm, whose headquarters is located 100 metres from the police station where Durán was tortured to death and 200 metres from the courthouse in the Buenos Aires district of Morón. "The most amazing thing was that the Parole Board and Criminal Court of Morón knew he was working there," said Verdú.

Laws against such practices exist, but are poorly enforced - another aspect to impunity in Argentina.

Dubious Past? No Problem for Private Security Firms (IPS)

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