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Uruguay's President Removes Commander of the Army

FILE - Uruguay's commander-in-chief of the army Guido Manini Rios speaks during a ceremony honoring independence war hero Joaquin Lencinas, also known as "Ansina" in Montevideo, Uruguay, Oct. 29, 2018.

Uruguay's president on Tuesday removed the country's commander of the army after he questioned how local courts have handled cases involving members of the military accused of dictatorship-era human rights abuses.

The decision by President Tabare Vazquez to dismiss Gen. Guido Manini Rios was announced in a statement by the presidency. The statement said Manini had told Vazquez that courts had not granted due process to some of those accused of crimes against humanity committed during the 1973-1985 dictatorship. Manini also said that some were sentenced without proof or with forged evidence.

The presidency said he was removed because the decisions of the judiciary must be respected and the ``attitude taken by the commander of the army, of censuring the judicial power as he has done, is completely incompatible with the role that he had been carrying out.''

More than 40 members of the military have been investigated after being accused of human rights crimes. Some of the aging ones have died in prison. Gen. Gregorio Alvarez, the last leader of Uruguay's dictatorship, died in 2016 at age 91 while serving a sentence for human rights abuses.

Hundreds were arrested and tortured during the dictatorship, and an estimated 192 people were forcibly disappeared.