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Argentine ex-President Videla wanted by Germany

Jorge Videla, 14/06/01
Jorge Videla seized power in Argentina in 1976

A court in Germany has issued an arrest warrant for the former Argentine military leader, Jorge Rafael Videla, on suspicion of murdering a German man.

The case against the 84-year-old was abandoned in 2008 after an Argentine court rejected an extradition request.

But prosecutors in Nuremberg reopened it last year after the body of Rolf Stawowiok, who vanished in the 1970s, was found with signs of bullet wounds.

Tens of thousands of government critics were murdered during military rule.

Videla, who ruled from 1976 to 1981, was sentenced to life in prison in 1985 of the murders of 66 people and the torture of 93 others.

But he was imprisoned for only five years before President Carlos Menem granted him a pardon, together with other junta leaders.

The remains of one individual have been identified and we know that this person was murdered, which is why we could pick up the investigation once again
Thomas Koch
Nuremburg prosecutor's office

Videla briefly returned to prison in 1998 after being convicted of kidnapping children, but was soon transferred to house arrest due to health issues.

Then last year, he was once again sent to prison after a court cancelled the 1990 pardon, ruling that it had been unconstitutional.

Thomas Koch, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office in Nuremberg, said its investigation into the murders of several Germans during the so-called "Dirty War" had been abandoned due to a lack of evidence.

"Now, however, the remains of one individual have been identified and we know that this person was murdered, which is why we could pick up the investigation once again," he told the Reuters news agency.

Mr Koch said that Germany had issued an international arrest warrant for Videla, even though Argentina was unlikely to extradite him.



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