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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 January 2005, 20:07 GMT
Argentine denies abuse knowledge
Officers help Adolfo Scilingo in court
Mr Scilingo complained of feeling ill on Friday
An Argentine ex-naval officer on trial in Spain for alleged crimes against humanity nearly 30 years ago says he was not aware of any wrongdoings.

"Nobody knew anything," Adolfo Scilingo, 58, told the court in Madrid. "You didn't ask, because if you did, you became the enemy."

Mr Scilingo once admitted dumping detainees into the sea from aircraft. He later retracted the confession.

Spanish judges are allowed to try cases of alleged genocide in other countries.

Mr Scilingo, whose trial is the first of this kind, faces 30 charges of murder, 93 of causing injury, 255 of terrorism and 286 of torture. He denies all of them.

In 1995, Mr Scilingo told a journalist of so-called "death flights", during which drugged political prisoners would be stripped naked and flung, "one by one", out of aircraft flying over the ocean.

Mr Scilingo went to Spain in 1997 and was remanded for trial in 2001. He later said his account of the "death flights" were not true.


Mr Scilingo, who worked at a naval school in the late 1970s, said he and other workers there did not see detainees or witness acts of torture, or hear talk of abuses.

He told the court on Monday that he made up the story to provoke an investigation into the country's so-called Dirty War.

"I testified so it would all be investigated. I said a lot of nonsense so it would be investigated," Mr Scilingo said, the Associated Press news agency reported.

He rehearsed his confession, he added, and took most of the information from what was being published at the press during that time.

The court heard excerpts from comments Mr Scilingo made in 1997 to an investigating magistrate about his part in throwing 30 drugged, naked dissidents off aircraft into the Atlantic.

Mr Scilingo asked for protection for his family, saying he received threats against them from Argentine sailors.

He has repeatedly protested his innocence and went on hunger strike in December.

Mr Scilingo arrived at the first day of his trial at the national court in Madrid in an ambulance and complained of feeling ill.

Between 10,000 and 30,000 people deemed to have been left-wing opponents of the Argentine regime were killed or vanished between 1976 and 1983.

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