Two former leaders during Argentina's military rule have been found guilty of overseeing the systematic theft of babies from political prisoners. A court in Buenos Aires sentenced Jorge Videla to 50 years in prison and Reynaldo Bignone to 15 years. They are already serving lengthy jail sentences for crimes committed under military rule, between 1976 and 1983. At least 400 babies are thought to have been taken from their parents while they were held in detention centres.
The verdict is the culmination of a trial that began in February 2011. In total, 11 people, most of them former military and police officials, were facing charges. Nine, including Videla and Bignone, were convicted in the case over the theft of 34 babies. Two were found not guilty. Videla, 86, received the maximum sentence as he was held criminally responsible for 20 of the thefts.
The court said Videla was guilty of the "systematic abduction, detention and hiding of minors under the age of 10". Videla listened to the verdict without showing any visible emotion. Both he and Bignone were already serving time in prison.
Videla was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010 for the torture and deaths of 31 dissidents during his rule. Bignone was also given a life sentence in April 2011 for the torture and murder of political opponents.<< Read other news