- Title: Argentine appears in French court over extradition in 'dirty war' case
- Date: 1st June 2017
- Summary: VERSAILLES, FRANCE (JUNE 1, 2017) (REUTERS) POLICE CAR ARRIVING AT VERSAILLE'S COURT OF APPEALS VARIOUS OF POLICE TALKING ARGENTINE EX-POLICEMAN ON TRIAL, MARIO SANDOVAL, WALKING UPSTAIRS TO HEARING ROOM ARGENTINE GOVERNMENT'S LAWYER, SOPHIE THONON-WESFREID, ARRIVING AT COURT THONON-WESFREID WALKING THONON-WESFREID ENTERING STAIRWAY COURT BUILDING SIGN READING (French): "APPEALS COURT" PEOPLE WAITING IN COURTYARD SANDOVAL AND SECURITY LEAVING SANDOVAL LEAVING / SECURITY PUSHING CAMERA AWAY SANDOVAL WALKING TO EXIT VARIOUS OF THONON-WESFREID BEING INTERVIEWED (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ARGENTINE GOVERNMENT'S LAWYER, SOPHIE THONON-WESFREID, SAYING: "Well, in the hall I would have again brought up the facts, because they are facts that now are over 40 years old, and moreover, it is fundamental to remember the atrocities that were committed by the dictatorship, that the Argentinean legal authorities committed, the navy, the air forces, the police, the army, so we must remember those events." COURT ENTRANCE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ARGENTINE GOVERNMENT'S LAWYER, SOPHIE THONON-WESFREID, SAYING: "Moreover, I will insist on the fact that it would be fundamental for the court to give a favourable sentence because it would additionally be a part of the historical journey of the progress of the law, towards the punishment of the guilty and the indemnisation in all senses of the word for the victims or the victims' families." STREET SIGN OUTSIDE COURT COURT GATE
- Embargoed: 15th June 2017 12:07
- Keywords: appeals court Versailles France extradition ex-policeman dirty war Mario Sandoval Argentina
- Location: VERSAILLES, FRANCE / BUENOS AIRES AND BUENOS AIRES PROVINCE, ARGENTINA
- City: VERSAILLES, FRANCE / BUENOS AIRES AND BUENOS AIRES PROVINCE, ARGENTINA
- Country: France
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA0016JG583R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
An Argentine ex-police officer living in France, Mario Sandoval, accused of crimes against humanity four decades ago during Argentina's "dirty war," appeared at a French court on Thursday (June 1), but the case was been postponed until a later date.
Sandoval, who moved to France after the fall of Argentina's 1976-1983 military dictatorship and obtained French citizenship in 1997, is accused of over 600 human rights violations, including torture, by Buenos Aires.
The former federal police officer was summoned to Versailles' appeals court, after an extradition request was struck down by France's highest court in 2015, ruling the case should be reexamined.
The judge postponed Thursday's hearing to September 14, 2017, in order to give Sandoval's lawyer more time to prepare his defence.
The lawyer representing Argentina's government that has been seeking Sandoval's extradition since 2012, Sophie Thonon-Wesfreid, was not given a chance to speak during the brief Versailles hearing.
"I would have again brought up the facts, because they are facts that now are over 40 years old, and moreover, it is fundamental to remember the atrocities that were committed by the dictatorship, that the Argentine legal authorities committed, the navy, the air forces, the police, the army," she told Reuters TV.
In May 2014, an appeals court ruling paved the way for Sandoval's extradition but in February 2015, the Cour de Cassation decided to reexamine the case.
Sandoval's lawyer at the time said this was because of a technicality in the statute of limitations.
Sandoval is suspected of crimes committed at a secret prison where he was a specialist in fighting "subversive elements," according to Argentine prosecutors. Sandoval denies the charges.
As many as 30,000 Argentines were murdered during the military dictatorship's so-called "dirty war" against suspected leftists and political dissidents, according to human rights groups.
In France, once courts rule for an extradition, it must be further approved by governmental decree.
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