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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
Argentine general jailed for racist remarks
Guillermo Suarez Mason
Suarez Mason tried to defend his comments
One of the most notorious figures from Argentina's former military dictatorship has been jailed for three-and-a-half years after being found guilty of making anti-Semitic remarks.

Former general Guillermo Suarez Mason was found guilty of racial discrimination for comments he made to a magazine in 1996.

He said he did not trust Jews at the time of the dictatorship that left thousands dead and missing.

Federal Judge Norberto Oyarbide sentenced Suarez Mason: "For having justified the crime, for having made an exaltation of the torture and of the activity that developed in the last genocidal dictatorship that terrorised the country and for the discrimination in the Jewish community."

General during military dictatorship
2000: Sentenced in absentia to life for murdering eight Italians
Wanted in Germany over murder of German student
Under house arrest on charges of baby theft
Suarez Mason, 78, known as the "Butcher of Olimpo" is accused of human rights abuses during Argentina's so-called dirty war during the 1976-83 dictatorship.

He is wanted in Germany in connection with the murder of a German student Elisabeth Kaesemann who was kidnapped in Argentina in 1977.

Suarez Mason was also found guilty in his absence for kidnapping and killing eight Italians during Argentina's military regime. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The ex-general tried to defend himself in court saying: "Jews are Argentines but a different group."

But in the comments he made to a magazine in 1996, Suarez Mason said: "I am not an anti-Semite. I know Jews well, which is different. I am wary of them."

The ex-general is currently under house arrest in Buenos Aires on charges of kidnapping children during the dirty war.

It is thought that about 300 children were taken from their mothers and given to the families of army and police personnel for adoption.

Human rights groups say the babies' parents were then killed.

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