Al Jazeera.net – 2008-03-11 09:16:54
MADRID (March 2, 2008) — Spain has agreed to extradite a former Argentine navy officer accused of torturing and killing thousands of dissidents during Argentina’s so-called Dirty War. Ricardo Miguel Cavallo was arrested in Mexico in 2000 and extradited to Spain in 2003 on genocide and terrorism charges.
The Spanish government said in a statement it would grant a request from Argentina for his extradition, although genocide and terrorism charges against him in Spain will still be pending.
Up to 30,000 people were killed or “disappeared” during Argentina’s 1976-1983 military government.
Cavallo was arrested in Mexico in 2000 on the orders of Baltazar Garzon, one of Spain’s top criminal judges.
In 2003, he was extradited to Spain, which accuses him of having participated in 227 kidnappings and acts of torture involving 110 people in Argentina, according to the AFP news agency reported.
Argentina asked for him to to be returned to the country in relation to alleged atrocities committed by a secret unit of the country’s notorious Navy Mechanics School in Buenos Aires, which kidnapped and tortured people during the “Dirty War”.
Cavallo denies all the charges.
More than 5,000 of the roughly 30,000 people who disappeared under the military government are thought to have passed through the detention centre.
Garzon had sought Cavallo’s arrest under the principle of “universal jurisdiction” under international law, which makes atrocities committed in one country subject to prosecution by other countres’ courts.
Carvallo’s extradition to Spain marked the first time a country had extradited a suspect to another to stand trial for alleged rights abuses committed in a third.
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