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Argentina Court Overturns Pardons in 'Dirty War'


A court in Argentina has overturned pardons for two leaders of the military dictatorship responsible for atrocities during the so-called "Dirty War" against political opponents.

The court on Wednesday said the pardons given to General Jorge Videla and Admiral Emilio Massera were unconstitutional.

Videla and Massera were sentenced in 1985 to life in prison for killings, tortures and illegal arrests while the military was in power from 1976 to 1983. President Carlos Menem pardoned them in 1990, along with seven other former officials.

Lawyers for the two men are likely to appeal Wednesday's ruling.

Videla, 81, is under house arrest while awaiting prosecution on separate charges of stealing babies from mothers detained during the "Dirty War." Massera, who is also 81, was declared incompetent to stand trial on those charges because of a stroke.

In 2005, Argentina's Supreme Court overturned amnesty laws protecting military and police officials from prosecution for human-rights abuses during the "Dirty War." Official records say 13,000 people were killed or disappeared while the military was in power, but rights groups put the toll at 30,000.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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