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  • 1970s-1980s: The region

    1970s-1980s: The region's brutal dictators responsible for tens of thousands of disappearances - including Videla (R) in Argentina and Pinochet (L) in Chile continue unimpeded in the OAS despite the body's alleged commitment to democracy. | Photo: Archive

Published 29 March 2016

The conviction of Marcos Jacobo Levin, the ex-president of a transport firm, sets a precedent in Argentina for convicting businessmen of political crimes.  

The first conviction of an Argentine businessman for kidnapping during the military dictatorship that lasted from 1976 to 1983.

Marcos Jacobo Levín, the ex-president of transport firm La Veloz del Norte, was sentenced to 12 years for the unlawful deprivation of freedom of Víctor Cobos, a former employee of Levín's company who was, at the time, a leader of the Tram Drivers' Union, Argentine website Clarín reports.

Related: Argentina Marks 40th Anniversary of Dictatorship with Protest

Cobos was tortured both physically and mentally during his time in captivity.

In January of 1977, Levín filed a complaint of fraud against his employees and handed over a list of 20 workers to be interrogated by the police department in Salta, a city in the north of Argentina.

The police followed up on the complaint by kidnapping at least 16 of the workers, and making them confess while being tortured.

Though there were others who were kidnapped, Cobos' case was the only admitted and adjudicated because, as the leader of a trade union, it was a case of political persecution.

The remaining claims are awaiting a decision by the court which will determine whether they will be heard at trial.

The conviction is important, because it sets a precedent of holding members of Argentina's private sector accountable for crimes during the military dictatorship.


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