Italy Seeks Dirty War Suspects

Italian police made one arrest Monday as prosecutorsissued warrants for former South American officials accused in crackdownson dissent in several countries in past decades, news reports said.

Police in the southern city of Salerno arrested Nestor Jorge FernándezTroccoli, a former naval intelligence officer in Uruguay, as part of aninvestigation into the kidnapping and murder of Italian and non-Italianopponents of South America's military dictatorships, the news agencies ANSAand Apcom reported.

Prosecutors in Rome issued warrants for the arrests of 140 officials who workedfor the military dictatorships or the secret services in the 1970s and 1980s ofChile, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, Apcom reported.

The suspects include Argentina's former junta leader Jorge Rafaél Videla andUruguay's former dictator Juan Bordaberry, ANSA said. Both are already beingheld and facing prosecution in their home countries for human rights abuses.

Videla has numerous pending extradition requests from European nationsbut Argentine authorities generally oppose granting such requests, sayingprosecution at home takes precedence in cases of suspected crimes committedon Argentine soil.

Phones were not answered Monday evening at the offices of Rome prosecutors,and police in Salerno could not confirm the reports.

Prosecutors allege that the military governments of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay,Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay exchanged information that led to the kidnappingsand killings of thousands of dissidents.

It is not the first time Italy has gone after those believed responsiblefor the so-called Dirty War. In March, an Italian court gave life sentencesto five former members of Argentina's military tried in absentia formurdering three Italians in the 1970s.

Other European governments have also moved to try Dirty War suspects foralleged crimes committed in South America.

[Source: The Associated Press, Rome, Ita, 24Dec07]

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