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Spain rejects Peron extradition

Isabel Peron in 2007
Isabel Peron has been living in Spain since 1981

A court in Spain has rejected a request from Buenos Aires to extradite former Argentine President Isabel Peron who is wanted for alleged human rights abuses.

The National Court in Madrid ruled that the charges did not constitute crimes against humanity and that therefore the statute of limitations had expired.

Ms Peron, 77, is wanted over alleged links to right-wing paramilitaries who operated during her 1974-1976 rule.

Argentina also wants to question her over the disappearance of two men.

'Ineffectual leader'

The Spanish court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to link Ms Peron to the disappearance of the two leftist activists in 1976.

Isabel Peron waves to the crowds in 1974 in Buenos Aires
Isabel Peron was in power for less than two years

It also said there was not enough evidence to show that she had anything to do with activities of the paramilitary squad - the Argentine Anti-communist Alliance.

Argentine investigators believe the squad kidnapped and killed about 1,500 government opponents, including politicians, lawyers and journalists.

Ms Peron, whose full name is Maria Estela Martinez de Peron, became the third wife of the three-times president of Argentina, Juan Domingo Peron several years after the death of his second wife, iconic Argentine first lady Eva Peron.

When Mr Peron died in office in 1974, his widow took over.

Historians say she was an ineffectual leader, manipulated by her ministers at a time when Argentina was wracked by violence involving left-wing guerrillas and right-wing death squads.

She was removed in a military coup in 1976 and held under house arrest for several years before moving to Spain in 1981.

An estimated 30,000 people were killed, or "disappeared", from 1976 to 1983, during the military's repression of alleged left-wing opponents, which came to be known as the "dirty war".


SEE ALSO
Warrant for ex-Argentine leader
16 Jan 07 |  Americas
Argentina detains squad suspect
09 Jan 07 |  Americas
Argentine 'death squad' man held
29 Dec 06 |  Americas
Peron paternity test 'negative'
14 Nov 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Argentina
09 Dec 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Argentina
13 Dec 06 |  Country profiles

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