A former Navy captain was detained in an investigation into alleged human rights abuses.

A former Navy captain was detained.

Tuesday in an investigation into alleged human rights abuses during the country's 1976-83 military dictatorship.

Police arrested Alfredo Astiz in Buenos Aires on a request by a judge probing the torture and killing of thousands of people during the campaign against suspected government opponents.

Judge Sergio Torres' order came in response to efforts to extradite Astiz to France, which has repeatedly sought to try him for the deaths of two French nuns.

It was the second time in recent months Astiz has been taken into custody. In July, he was arrested and later released in a separate investigation into military-era abuses.

Rights groups have accused Astiz of heading one of several navy teams charged with kidnapping suspected dissidents, who were often tortured and executed.

In 1990, a French court tried Astiz in absentia and sentenced him to life in prison in the abduction of the two nuns, Alice Domon and Leonie Duquet. Their bodies were found two months after they were abducted in December 1977.

Astiz has also been sought by authorities in Sweden investigating the disappearance of a Swedish teenager, who witnesses reported seeing at a torture center.

In the past, Argentina has turned down extradition requests for Astiz and other military officials, insisting its citizens be tried in their own country.

More than 9,000 people are officially listed as disappeared during the military's systematic crackdown on leftist opponents during the Dirty War. Human rights groups put the figure at nearly 30,000.

[Source: NYT, NY, 16Sep03]

DDHH in Argentina

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