BUENOS AIRES – A retired Argentine navy lieutenant wanted in his homeland for the summary execution of 16 jailed guerrillas in 1972 was arrested Thursday in the United States, Argentina’s Human Rights Office said.
Lt. Roberto Guillermo Bravo was detained in Miami at the request of an Argentine judge, the office said in a statement.
Bravo, a 67-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, has been identified by witnesses as one of the shooters in what is known as the “Trelew massacre.”
In mid-August 1972, 25 leftist guerrillas escaped from Rawson prison in southern Argentina and briefly seized control of the airport in nearby Trelew before military forces guarding the facility nabbed 19 of the rebels.
Six others managed to escape to Chile on an airplane.
The 19 captured guerrillas were taken to the Almirante Zar naval base in Trelew, where 16 of them died when they were machine-gunned in their cells.
Survivors Alberto Camps, Maria Berger and Ricardo Haidar reported the killings, but were later abducted and killed by agents of Argentina’s 1976-1983 military regime.
The Trelew massacre happened under the dictatorship of Gen. Alejandro Lanusse, who died during the 1990s.
Argentine Judge Hugo Sastre indicted Bravo and five other navy personnel for torture, murder, attempted murder and false imprisonment.
Sastre asked the United States to apprehend Bravo after a 2008 newspaper story about the fugitive’s comfortable life in Miami.
Argentina’s human rights secretary, Eduardo Luis Duhalde, said Thursday that Bravo left Argentina in 1977 and ultimately settled in South Florida, where he founded a business, RGB Group, Inc., which had contracts with the U.S. Armed Forces.
Argentina “will spare no effort” in securing the extradition of Bravo to stand trial for the killings in Trelew, Duhalde said. EFE