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Disappeared in democracy

 Factor S (Uruguay) 25 May 2019

(Originally published: 11/2009) On the 27th of October of 1976, Jorge Julio López was kidnapped and disappeared. He was held captive until the 25th of June of 1979. In those three years, he was held prisoner in several jails and was tortured by Ramón Camps and Miguel Osvaldo Etchecolatz. “Why don’t you kill me too?’ he told his torturers. He could not stand the pain of what he heard, saw and knew. ‘Because your real torture will be to remember this for the rest of your life’, answered his torturers. The human rights organization which investigated López’s disappearance suggests that the kidnappers are part of the same police force that investigated the case. The names of more than 3,214 policemen match those of jail workers during the time of the dictatorship. The 18th of September 2009 was the third anniversary of his disappearance and there is still no clear answer for it. Since he was kidnapped, the 18th of each month in La Plata sees thousands of people coming together to demand his release under the banners ‘Hay un grito que nos falta’ (“There is a shout missing”).  - By Azul Cordo

Factor S

Courtesy of Factor S

There came a day when a man decided to talk. He had been carrying 30 years of tortures on his shoulders. It was a too heavy load to carry. There came a day when Jorge Julio López, a retired builder aged 77 and native of Los Hornos de la Plata in Argentina, decided to testify.

 

On the 27th of October of 1976, Jorge Julio López was kidnapped. He was held captive until the 25th of June of 1979. Those three years he was held prisoner in several jails and was tortured by Ramón Camps and Miguel Osvaldo Etchecolatz. "Why don't you kill me too?' he told his torturers. He could not stand the pain of what he heard, saw and knew. 'Because your real torture will be to remember this for the rest of your life', answered his torturers.

 

López kept these secrets for 20 years until 1998 when he testified in the 'Juicios por la Verdad de la Plata' (court of the truth), the investigation of the crimes of Argentina's military dictatorship (1976-1983). Eight years later, in 2006, he was also one of the witnesses who testified in the court case against Miguel Osvaldo Etchecolatz. This was one of the first investigations to take place in Argentina about these tortures. Before this, the killers were protected by the 'Ley del Perdón' (the law which pardon), which granted amnesty to them. Thanks to these investigations and testimonies the first torturers were condemned. However, López could not hear the judgment. He was kidnapped again on Monday 18th of September of 2006, just one day before the public condemnation.

 

Human rights organization which investigated López's disappearance suggested - and still suggests - that the kidnappers are inside the same Police force which investigated the case. More than 3,214 policeman's names matched up with the names of jail workers during the dictatorship.

 

The 18th of September 2009 was the third anniversary of his disappearance and there is still no clear answer for it. Since he was kidnapped, the 18th of each month in La Plata sees thousands of people join to demand his release under the banners 'Hay un grito que nos falta' (There is a shout missing).

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