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Ruben Chamorro, Jailed Argentine Vice Admiral, 61

From Times Wire Services

Ruben Chamorro, the vice admiral arrested two years ago on charges of commanding a torture and execution center for dissident leftists in the 1970s, has died at age 61.

Military sources said Chamorro died Monday of a heart attack at a naval hospital. He had been hospitalized since June, 1984--four months after his arrest--because of a heart ailment.

Chamorro, former commander of the Naval Mechanics School in Buenos Aires, was among 100 military or police officers accused of committing human rights violations during former military dictatorships.

Chamorro and army Gen. Ramon Campos, former police chief of the province of Buenos Aires, were said by human rights groups to be among the most notorious participants in the anti-leftist repression that left at least 9,000 Argentines missing and presumed dead.

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The former officials were ordered to trial by civilian President Raul Alfonsin after he took office in December, 1983, ending the nearly eight years of rightist military rule that began with a coup in March, 1976.

Hundreds of witnesses, including some survivors, testified that during Chamorro’s command from 1976 until 1979, the Naval Mechanics School served as a center for detention and torture of hundreds of suspected leftists, many of whom later disappeared.

A federal court tried nine former ruling junta members, and convicted five of them last December on charges that included torture and homicide. The other four were acquitted.

Campos was arrested in January, 1984, and his case is pending before a federal court.

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