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Award winner for human rights reporting on Argentina's dirty war

Rosa Gomez and Antonio Savone suffered at the hands of the same torturers. They reunited to try to jail their tormentors. Photo/Alison Crawford


Still cleaning up after Argentina's dirty war

Some guilty verdicts were handed down this week (October 2011) in a case that began many years ago in a very dark place in 1970s Argentina.

They called it "the Singing Room." And sometimes, "the Barbeque," which is closer to what it really was; a torture chamber in the basement of a Mendoza police station.

And it was bad, what they did to Antonio Savone. Much worse for Rosa Gomez, the woman whose eyes he could see -- and whose cries he could hear -- coming from the cell facing his.

Argentina was in the grip of a murderous dictatorship, and last March, Antonio headed back to meet Rosa face-to-face, and confront their captors.

The CBC's Alison Crawford begans our story in Antonio's Toronto home, as he packed to testify in Mendoza.

Listen to Alison's dispatch

This week (October 2011), five of the six defendants in the D-2 case were convicted of crimes ranging from kidnap to torture and murder.  The judge called them all "crimes against humanity."  Four were given life sentences, including the man who killed Rosa's husband. A fifth got twelve years and another was acquitted, but is already convicted of crimes in another detention centre. All will go to prison; they had been under house arrest. Report in El Sol (the Mendoza Sun)

And Antonio was in court to hear the verdict. He'll return in 2012 to testify against those accused of sexually assaulting Rosa Gomez.

Meanwhile, two judges have been suspended as a result of the investigation into human rights violations, though the prosecutor, that signed off on the "confession" Antonio was unaware of until his trial, has skipped the country and is claiming refugee status in Chile.

Antonio has also been contacted by a novelist and a filmmaker interested in documenting his story.  And an artist who wants to draw his eyes. 

Finally, he tells us by email that he speaks with Rosa all the time. "I feel very close to (her)" he writes. She is now, "a part of my life."

Dispatches thanks CBC producer Mariel Borelli for performing the voice over translation for Rosa Gomez.

 

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