Friday, December 29, 2006


Mr Gerez said he had been arrested and given electric shocks. A man who testified he was tortured by Argentina's military junta has become the second witness in the "Dirty War" trials to go missing in recent months.
Police are searching for Luis Gerez, a 50-year-old construction worker, who has not been seen since Wednesday.
He had implicated a former police chief in the human rights abuses committed by the 1976-83 military regime, helping block his bid for a seat in Congress.
Another witness who testified against Dirty War suspects remains missing.
Julio Lopez vanished in September, after giving evidence at the trial of a former police chief accused of human rights abuses during military rule in the 1970s and 80s.
Marchers took to the streets demanding more effort be made to find him, amid fears that he had been kidnapped and killed by supporters of the military regime.
An estimated 30,000 people were killed, or "disappeared" during military rule.
The military's repression of alleged left-wing opponents came to be known as the Dirty War.
Presidential concern
Mr Gerez told a congressional investigation this year a former police chief, Luis Patti, had been involved in torturing him.
Mr Gerez said he had been arrested and given electric shocks. He was reportedly blindfolded at the time but said he could identify Mr Patti by his voice as one of the men who tortured him.
Mr Patti had been elected to congress but Mr Gerez's testimony helped prevent him from taking his seat.
Mr Patti told Argentine media he was concerned by Mr Gerez's disappearance.
"I hope nothing has happened to him," he said.
Argentina's President Nestor Kirchner had cancelled a holiday to oversee the search for Mr Gerez, his office said.
The first civilian governments after military rule passed laws which allowed Dirty War suspects to walk free.
The current series of trials began after the Argentine Supreme Court last year ruled those laws to be unconstitutional.


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