A landmark human rights trial concluded Thursday in an Argentine federal court with the convictions of 38 former military officials for their roles in kidnapping, torturing and killing several hundred victims during a period of military dictatorship four decades ago.
Twenty-eight of the defendants, including a former general, were sentenced to life in prison, and 10 others received sentences of between two and a half and 21 years. Five defendants were acquitted.
Thousands of people who had gathered outside the packed courthouse in Córdoba, Argentina’s second-biggest city, celebrated the convictions, holding aloft sepia-toned images of the victims.
The trial grouped together about 20 cases from torture centers on Córdoba, where the atrocities took place. The most infamous one was known as La Perla. The combined cases were an important part of broader efforts to expedite the laborious task of prosecutors and human rights organizations working to bring to justice brutal crimes committed by the 1976-83 military dictatorship.