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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 05:43 GMT
Argentina 'dirty war' sentences
Argentine woman walks by pictures of people "disappeared" during military rule - file photo
Thousands of people disappeared during Argentina's dictatorship
A court in Argentina has sentenced eight former officials to jail terms of 20 to 25 years for abuses during the country's military dictatorship.

Among those sentenced was the former head of the army, Cristino Nicolaides.

He is the highest ranking official to be convicted since an amnesty law was repealed in 2003.

The officials were charged with killing members of a left-wing guerrilla group during Argentina's "dirty war" in the 1970s and 1980s.

Six other former army officers and an ex-police officer were sentenced along with Nicolaides.

Up to 30,000 people are believed to have been kidnapped, tortured or killed during under Argentina's military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983.

Lawyers said Nicolaides, 80, could not attend the sentencing because of ill health, but the other defendants were present.

One defendant told the judge he was innocent, saying the military regime had brought "order, not repression" to Argentina.

Some spectators shouted insults at the men before they were led from the court.

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