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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 April, 2005, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Argentina jails 'dirty war' medic
A survivor of the torture centre at the Navy School of Mechanics visits the building in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Navy School of Mechanics became a notorious torture centre
An Argentine court has given a 10-year jail sentence to a doctor who helped steal babies from political prisoners held in a torture centre.

The offences were committed during Argentina's "dirty war" - the period of military rule between 1976 and 1983.

Jorge Luis Magnacco falsified the birth certificate of a baby born to a mother held in the centre, the court said.

The verdict said he had participated in the government's plan of systematically eliminating left-wing opponents.

"It wasn't enough for them to root out those who were considered a risk to the regime's ideals... but they also eradicated those who in the future could harbour the same beliefs," it said.

The adoptive mother and father of the child were also handed prison sentences by the court for adopting the child illegally.

The man, who worked for the Air Force, was given a seven-and-a-half year sentence and the woman a term of three years and one month.


As many as 30,000 people are believed to have been killed or forcibly disappeared during the seven years of military rule, although the official figure is closer to 13,000.

Around 5,000 are believed to have been held at the Navy School of Mechanics, a torture centre in the capital, Buenos Aires known as Esma.

Human rights groups say that at Esma female prisoners were forced, sometimes blindfolded, to give birth to their children in dirty cells.

They say that an estimated 400 children were either murdered or given up for adoption illegally.

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