To call this disturbing would be to grossly understate matters:
A crucial witness in the trial of a notorious human rights abuser has been missing for nearly three weeks, and authorities and rights groups here say they fear he may have been abducted and killed in a new campaign to intimidate prosecutors, judges and witnesses in cases that have not yet gone to court.
The disappearance of Jorge Julio López, 77, a retired construction worker and former political prisoner, has awakened a host of old fears among Argentines. Some worry that it is a signal of a return of right-wing death squads that were thought to be extinct, precisely at the moment when the leaders of those groups are belatedly being summoned to justice.
“They are sending a message, that they can still threaten, kidnap and kill,” said Nilda Eloy of the Association of Former Detainees and the Disappeared, referring to former members of the police, security and military forces that were responsible for the forced disappearance of as many as 30,000 people. “There is a great deal of fear.”
This is unquetionably a bald-faced attempt to intinidate witnesses. It is essential that protection be supplied to those who are willing to testify, bu there is a major obstacle here:
The government has offered bodyguards to some rights leaders and potential witnesses who may be having second thoughts about testifying in the coming trials.
But some former victims, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were reluctant to accept that offer because the protection would come from members of the same police forces that were under suspicion in Mr. López’s disappearance.
For God's sake can the Madres de Plaza de Mayo finally oust Hebe de Bonafini?
Hebe de Bonafini, who as a founder of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo is a prominent human rights campaigner, has in recent years made remarks that other rights advocates deem offensive. She made anti-Semitic comments about another prominent rights defender, Horacio Verbitsky, and expressed glee at the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, saying Americans deserved a taste of their own medicine.
In this case, after a meeting with Mr. Kirchner, Ms. de Bonafini deprecated Mr. López as “not a typical disappeared person” because he had relatives who are police officers and lived in a neighborhood that had many police and security officials as residents.
She's an ass. Lopez's testimony helped convict a notorious human rights abuser. It appears he may have paid a heavy price for it.