'Operation Condor' trial begins in Buenos Aires

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Associated Press

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 5 at 11:04 AM

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina has begun a long-awaited human rights trial focused on Operation Condor, the effort by South America's dictators in 1976 to work together to eliminate leftist critics around the world.

The 25 defendants include former Argentine junta leaders 87-year-old Rafael Videla and 85-year-old Reynaldo Bignone. Also on trial is a former Uruguayan army colonel, Manuel Cordero, who allegedly tortured prisoners inside Automotores Orletti, a Buenos Aires repair shop where leftists from many countries were taken under orders from home.

More than 400 witnesses will be called in the two-year trial, which involves 106 victims from at least four countries. The charges include criminal association, kidnapping and torture.

A key piece of evidence is a declassified FBI agent's cable sent in 1976 to warn the U.S. government about the conspiracy.

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