Both men, one-time dictators of Argentina, were found guilty of stealing babies from political prisoners. Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Benito Bignone were both found guilty of baby thefts in a a court decision the family members of the victims are saying “The verdict is what we were asking for.”
Thursday an Argentine court found two former dictators guilty of stealing babies during the country’s dirty war.
Jorge Rafael Videla, who ruled as a dictator between 1976 to 1981, was sentenced to 50 years in prison. He was among the coup leaders who overthrew then-President Isabel Martinez de Peron back in March of 1976.
Gen. Reynaldo Benito Bignone, who ruled the country from June 1982 until the nation’s return to democracy in December 1983, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Both men had been found guilty of systematically stealing babies from political prisoners and giving them new identities.
They were the two most high-profile defendants on trial for being the “presumed authors of the crimes of theft, retention and hiding of minors, as well as replacing their identities,” according to a statement from the country’s judiciary.They were tried for the stealing of 34 babies from their parents.
As observers packed the courtroom Thursday, cheers could be heard when a judge read the verdict for Videla. Afterward, outside the courthouse, family members of the disappeared told CNN affiliate Canal 7 that they were satisfied with the verdict. “It was was we were asking for. We never asked for revenge. We never hated. We never asked for anything more than justice, and we have been fighting for 36 years,” one father said.
Videla was previously convicted in December of human rights abuses during his rule and is currently serving a life sentence in prison. Bignone was sentenced in April of last year to 25 years in prison for the kidnapping and torturing of 56 people.