Veterans Say They Witnessed Execution of Argentine Prisoners
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ Three veterans told a Defense Ministry panel they saw British troops execute at least seven wounded Argentine soldiers and one non-commissioned officer during the 1982 Falkland Islands War.
The three, who served with Argentine infantry units during the 74-day conflict, said Monday that the victims had either surrendered or been taken prisoner during fighting for the disputed South Atlantic islands.
The commission was named in June to investigate reports that British troops had executed prisoners. Similar investigations, including one by Scotland Yard, were begun by Britain after British veterans told of alleged executions.
The findings of a Scotland Yard team that visited several island battle sites several months ago have not been disclosed.
Former infantry Pvt. Luis Alberto Gomez told reporters that his testimony involved an incident in which British troops forced approximately 150 Argentine prisoners to search for and disarm mines and collect unexploded hand grenades.
During the search an explosion occurred beneath a truck carrying explosives. British troops shot seven men wounded by the blast and used rifle butts to oblige the prisoners to continue the task, he said.
Former infantryman Ramon Ricardo Alegre said he saw British troops shoot and kill a captured Argentine non-commissioned officer as he walked with his hands in his pockets toward a group of disarmed prisoners.
A third veteran, Gustavo Pedemonte, said several members of his squad were executed after surrendering to British troops.
The war followed the April 2, 1982 Argentine invasion of the British-held islands. British troops retook the islands, which Argentina claims were stolen 150 years ago.