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Six Admirals Arrested for Contempt of Court

February 26, 1987

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ Six retired admirals who did not show up as ordered Wednesday to testify in a human rights trial were cited for contempt and arrested, the government said.

The case concerns the ESMA naval detention center in northern Buenos Aires, where prosecutors and human rights activists say 4,000 suspected leftist subversives were taken in the military’s ″dirty war″ of 1976-83 and never seen again.

At least 9,000 people disappeared during the campaign against leftists by the former militry government and most are presumed to be dead.

The contempt citations were the first incidents in connection with human rights cases since a new law that ends the bringing of new cases went into effect Sunday.

About 150 officers were charged with human rights violations before the ″punto final″ law took effect, including former presidents and members of the military regime.

President Raul Alfonsin, whose election in 1983 ended nearly eight years of military rule, proposed the law.

He said the military had begun to wonder whether prosecutions would ever end and Argentina must turn its attention to such important matters as the economic crisis.

Congress passed the bill on Christmas Eve, allowing prosecutors 60 days to bring new charges.

The retired admirals arrested Wednesday were identified as Antonio Vanek, Julio Torti, Oscar Montes, Manuel Garcia Tallada, Humberto Barbuzzi and Jose Supisiche.

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