MIAMI ( Associated Press) — The defense of an Argentine ex-Marine facing trial in Miami for his alleged role in the execution of a group of political prisoners nearly 50 years ago insisted on Friday that the case was over because Decades have passed since the events took place. Argentine Patagonia.
Relatives of four of the victims of the so-called “Trelev massacre” sued Roberto Guillermo Bravo in Miami federal court in October 2020, seeking financial compensation for alleged damages caused to the former military officer.
The massacre took place in Argentina, but the Law for the Protection of Victims of Torture allows legal action if the accused are in the United States.
One of Bravo’s attorneys, Roger Slade, argued that more than 10 years had passed as permitted by law to file the lawsuit and that there was no extraordinary circumstance justifying the case in Miami. The maximum date for the defender would be 1982.
“I don’t think the plaintiffs have gone out of their way to show that they’ve been looking for him since 1973,” said Slade in an attempt to debunk the plaintiffs’ argument, who they claim didn’t know until 2008. Was where Bravo was. “The courts of the United States were open to him to file a civil suit … he didn’t,” he said.
In 2008, Interpol informed Argentine authorities that it had found Bravo in Florida. In 2010, the government of the South American nation requested his extradition, but months later a Florida judge denied it. In 2019, a second extradition request was submitted, which is still in process.
The plaintiffs allege that because of the climate of fear that existed in Argentina due to the military dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s, relatives did not dare to file a complaint for fear of being repressed and missing. Furthermore, he says, it was only in 2008 that he learned of Bravo’s whereabouts and then focused on a criminal trial in his home country.
In Argentina, starting in 2005, an investigation was launched that gave way to a criminal complaint. Bravo was one of the only defendants not to face justice. Three other officers were convicted in 2012.
A seven-member jury must determine whether the ex-Marine is responsible for the torture, murder and attempted murder of the victims and return a verdict.
The four plaintiffs are relatives of Eduardo Cappello, Rubén Bonnet, Ana María Villarreal de Santucho and Alberto Camp. They allege that Bravo was instrumental in the shooting of 19 unarmed political prisoners at a military base in Trelev, Patagonia, in the early hours of 22 August 1972.
According to the trial, Bravo was one of the soldiers who entered the chamber before ordering the prisoners to come out, stand in line, and shoot them, killing 16 and seriously injuring three. Were.
During the five-day trial that began Monday, plaintiffs, experts and Bravo himself, who admitted to ordering the shooting and being the first to shoot, testified in person and by video. The former soldier said it was in self-defense when a prisoner took a gun from a Marine and fired two shots.
No soldier was injured.
This is the first time Bravo has faced justice as laws in his country prevent prosecution in absentia. The 70-year-old former Marine has been living in the United States since 1973 and has been a US citizen since 1987.
Former military rescues have tried to present him as a good man who came to the United States to study, work, and open a business and who had devoted himself to his family and community. was joined together. In addition to time constraints, it alleges that relatives of the victims have already been compensated in Argentina, that the camp was one of the survivors, and that plaintiff Eduardo Capello – who bears the same name as his uncle who lives in Trelev Died – cannot make a claim because he is not the son or husband of one of the victims.