Page last updated at 16:24 GMT, Saturday, 22 November 2008

Argentine man kills himself on TV

By Daniel Schweimler
BBC News, Buenos Aires

Mario Ferreyra on Cronica TV
Mr Ferreyra was live on Cronica TV when he killed himself

A former police chief in Argentina, wanted for alleged crimes against human rights, has shot himself dead in front of television cameras.

Mario Ferreyra was giving an interview on top of a water tank at his home in the northern province of Tucuman.

Police were coming to arrest him when he killed himself.

Mr Ferreyra was wearing his customary black shirt and cowboy hat and told the interviewer that he was innocent and had not committed any crimes.

He then told his wife, Maria, that he would love her forever, pulled a pistol from his boot and shot himself behind the ear.

'Pact of silence'

The Cronica television cameras were still rolling, transmitting live, as the distraught family gathered round.

Police, who had come to arrest Mr Ferreyra at his farm, came running, but it was too late. He was dead.

Mr Ferreyra was accused of kidnapping and torture during the military government that ran Argentina between 1976 and 1983.

The victims' families say the suicide was part of a pact of silence - that the ex-police chief would not testify against former colleagues accused of kidnapping and killing some of the tens of thousands of Argentines who died during a period that became known as the "Dirty war".

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