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Ex-Argentine junta leader sentenced to 20 years over Operation Condor crimes

Published 27/05/2016

People sit in federal court for the sentencing of former military officers in Buenos Aires, Argentina (AP)
People sit in federal court for the sentencing of former military officers in Buenos Aires, Argentina (AP)

A court in Argentina has sentenced former junta leader Reynaldo Bignone to 20 years in prison for Operation Condor crimes.

The secret conspiracy was launched by six South American dictators in the 1970s in a combined effort to track down their enemies and eliminate them. The federal court ruled on Friday.

Bignone is already serving life sentences for multiple human rights violations during the 1976-1983 dictatorship.

Bignone, 88, was charged with being part of an illicit association as part of Operation Condor and abusing his powers in office.

The trial, which began in 2013, involves 16 other former military officials and 105 victims from at least four countries. A key piece of evidence is a declassified FBI agent's cable, sent in 1976, that described in detail the conspiracy to share intelligence and eliminate leftists across South America.

Operation Condor was launched by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet who enlisted other South American dictators. It grew to include Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The US government later determined that Chilean agents involved in Condor killed the country's former ambassador Orlando Letelier and his US aide Ronni Moffitt in Washington DC in September 1976, and tracked other exiles across Europe in efforts to eliminate them.

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From Belfast Telegraph