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  • Astiz has already been convicted of crimes against humanity and now faces several charges of torture and murder in Argentina.

    Astiz has already been convicted of crimes against humanity and now faces several charges of torture and murder in Argentina. | Photo: EFE

Published 5 October 2017

One of the country's most notorious strongmen defends his repressive acts during the dictatorship and the police accused of abducting Santiago Maldonado.

One of the most infamous Argentine torturers and killers, known as the Angel of Death, said he doesn't regret his actions during the dictatorship era while speaking at a trial on murder charges.

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"I will never ask for forgiveness for defending my country," he said.

Alfredo Astiz is being tried, among other crimes, for the murder of Swedish-Argentine teenager Dagmar Hagelin in 1977. Now 67, he claimed his acts were done in accordance with his obligations and also in the context of a "war against the subversives."

Together with numerous other defendants associated with ESMA, Astiz was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in Argentina for crimes against humanity in October 2011.

Photo: EFE

Astiz infiltrated the human rights group Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and then collaborated in the murder of its first leader Azucena Villaflor in 1977. Astiz approached the group, which is made up of mothers and grandmothers looking for relatives that were disappeared or killed by police, by saying he was looking for a missing relative. As they left a mass in Buenos Aires, Astiz embraced all the founders of the group for the military that watched from afar, indicating which ones were to be captured, tortured and killed.

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He was also convicted for the plot that killed 11 other people, including two French nuns, during the Argentine Dirty War. All of them, including human rights leader Villaflor, are said to have been killed on the so-called "death flights," as they were thrown alive from military planes into the Rio de la Plata in Buenos Aires.

Astiz said he doesn't recognize the civil courts and demands a military one. "If they want me to explain what I did, let me be tried by a military court," he said.

He defended the police in the latest case of disappearance in Argentina, Santiago Maldonado, saying that there are "secessionist movements that want to seize part of our territory," referring to the Mapuche Indigenous community who have been fighting for decades for their land.

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