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Friday, 1 September, 2000, 19:35 GMT 20:35 UK
Argentine charged with genocide
Cavallo
Mr Cavallo says he is a victim of mistaken identity
A Spanish judge has formally charged a former Argentine officer with genocide, terrorism and torture during Argentina's military rule.


It is clear that [Cavallo] participates in the whole system of repression, disappearance and elimination of persons

Baltasar Garzon
Ricardo Miguel Cavallo, also known as Miguel Angel Cavallo, was arrested in Mexico last week on suspicion of falsifying documents and was later identified by Judge Baltasar Garzon, as wanted for crimes committed during Argentina's military rule between 1976 and 1983.

The judge has been hearing testimonies from victims of military repression who say Mr Cavallo was one of their torturers at a detention centre in Buenos Aires.

He says he is the victim of mistaken identity and that he played no part in Argentina's "Dirty War", in which over 9,000 Argentinians and perhaps as many as 30,000 disappeared.

Judge Garzon, who heads an ongoing investigation into crimes against Spaniards by Argentina's and Chile's military governments, attempted a similar process against former Chilean military ruler General Augusto Pinochet.

Charges

Mr Cavallo is charged in a 196-page document with the torture, disappearance, and execution of 21 people.

Baltasar Garzon
Baltasar Garzon also pursued General Pinochet
He is also linked to 227 disappearances and 110 cases of torture, as well as the alleged kidnapping of 16 babies born to women held at a notorious detention centre.

Judge Garzon, quoted by the Efe news agency, wrote: "It is clear that [Cavallo] participates in the whole system of repression, disappearance and elimination of persons."

The judge said he did not originally indict Mr Cavallo along with another 98 Argentine officers because there was confusion over his real name.

He apparently called himself Miguel Angel Cavallo while working for the military regime.

Mr Cavallo's detention was carried out on the basis of an international arrest warrant issued by Judge Garzon's office.

The judge is now expected to issue a request for his extradition from Mexico to Spain.

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See also:

27 Aug 00 | Americas
Torture suspect faces extradition
25 Aug 00 | Americas
Mexico boss held on torture charges
19 Aug 98 | Top features
The Living Disappeared
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