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Argentine Media Tycoon Is Detained

December 18, 2002

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ The president of Argentina’s largest media conglomerate has been detained while a judge investigates whether she adopted children taken from captive dissidents during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship.

A federal judge ordered Ernestina Herrera de Noble, whose Clarin Group includes Argentina’s largest newspaper, arrested late Tuesday.

She was still in jail Wednesday after the judge postponed her scheduled court appearance without setting a new date.

Police and court officials said Judge Roberto Marquevich was probing the identities of two children believed to have been born in secret detention centers during the military’s reign.

He wants to know if two children adopted by Herrera de Noble were born to jailed dissidents, judicial and police officials said.

Arte Grafico Editorial Argentino, a company within the Clarin Group, called Herrera de Noble’s detention ``abusive″ and ``illegal.″

``We wanted to express our profound concern ... about the abuse of constitutional rights, due process″ in this case, the statement said.

Argentine judges are investigating whether a systematic plan existed for the illicit adoption of more than 200 children born to captive dissidents during the military’s campaign against leftists and political opponents.

The children’s mothers are among at least 9,000 Argentines who vanished during the ``dirty war.″ Human rights groups say the figure is closer to 30,000.

In 1990, President Carlos Menem pardoned the imprisoned junta leaders, along with all middle- and senior-ranking officers. The move outraged human rights groups. Charges of child kidnapping are not covered by the presidential pardon.

Herrera de Noble took over Clarin in 1969 after the death of her husband, Roberto Noble, the newspaper’s founder.

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