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  HOME | Argentina

Argentine Judges Could Face Charges for Cutting Sentence of Torturer

BUENOS AIRES – An Argentine federal prosecutor on Tuesday requested an investigation of three members of the country’s Supreme Court who reduced the sentence of a man convicted of committing crimes against humanity as an agent of the 1976-1983 military regime, judicial sources told EFE.

Guillermo Marijuan sought the probe on the basis of a criminal complaint filed by independent attorney Marcelo Parrilli.

The lawyer accused Justices Horacio Rosatti, Elena Highton, and Carlos Rosenkrantz of wittingly rendering an unjust decision in the case of Luis Muiña, who was sentenced in 2011 to 13 years in prison for kidnapping and acts of torture under the junta.

In a 3-2 decision, the Supreme Court reduced Muiña’s prison term in accord with an old law – repealed in 2001 – that was aimed at benefiting defendants who spend more than two years in pre-trial detention.

Federal Judge Daniel Rafecas will decide whether to initiate a formal investigation of the justices or dismiss the complaint.

The court majority in the Muiña case said they decided to apply the defunct sentence-reduction law because his offenses were committed prior to 2001, and in accord with a principle of international law mandating that such questions should be decided in favor of the defendant.

The two dissenting Supreme Court members, including Chief Justice Ricardo Lorenzetti, argued that people convicted of crimes against humanity are not eligible for sentence reduction.

Human rights organizations and groups representing families of the tens of thousands murdered or tortured by the junta are planning to march this week in Buenos Aires to protest the high court ruling, which they fear could set a precedent.

 

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