A federal judge ordered former Argentine Gen. Carlos Suarez Mason to pay $60 million to the families of three men who were killed during the Argentine military's rule of that country, lawyers said Friday.
U.S. District Judge John Vukasin made the award on April 11 after finding that Suarez Mason would not defend himself against charges that he oversaw military police who carried out the torture-killings.
The award is among the largest in a case alleging human rights violations committed in another country, and the second against Suarez Mason. Lawyers for the Argentine nationals who have won the judgments believe Suarez Mason has hidden wealth, but none has been found.
"We've been looking for it," said Juan Mendez of Americas Watch, a lawyer for the Argentine nationals. "We have some clues, but at this point, no more than clues. We needed the judgments. Without the judgments, we could not use the judicial system to find out where it is."
U.S. courts claimed jurisdiction over Suarez Mason because he fled to here in 1983 after the civilian government of Raul Alfonsin took over in Argentina.
At Argentina's request, Suarez Mason was arrested in suburban Foster City in 1987 and deported last May. He is awaiting trial in Buenos Aires, charged with 39 murders committed during the military rule of that country.
In the latest order, Vukasin directed Suarez Mason to pay the $60 million to Susana Quiros de Rapaport, 40, and Maria Teresa Pinero de Georgiadis, 40, of Argentina, and Maria Elena Perez de Antonanzas, 75, and her daughter, Norma Antonanzas de Barroso, 43, who are living in Los Angeles.
Rapaport's husband, an architect, was arrested near Buenos Aires on Aug. 5, 1975, and died in early 1977. De Georgiadis' husband was arrested July 16, 1975, on charges of being a subversive and also died in early 1977.
The Antonanzases are the mother and sister of Nestor Ruben Antonanzas, who disappeared April 21, 1977. Maria Elena Perez de Antonanzas received a telegram in 1984 saying her son died in prison June 26, 1977.