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Argentine ‘dirty war’ witness is found dead

From the Associated Press

A retired Argentine army officer, called to testify about the fate of twins born to a political prisoner, has been found dead of a gunshot to the head, police said Tuesday.

The body of retired Lt. Col. Paul Alberto Navone was found Monday with a handgun near his side in a park near his home outside the central city of Cordoba, authorities said.

Police said evidence pointed to suicide, but some human rights activists expressed concern that he might have been slain, based on the deaths or abductions of other witnesses in cases stemming from the 1976-83 military dictatorship.

Federal Judge Myriam Galizzi had summoned Navone for questioning next week about what happened to twins born in 1978 to a dissident held at a military hospital in the northeastern city of Parana.

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The mother, Raquel Negro, remains missing and was presumably executed -- one of at least 13,000 suspected leftists who died or vanished while in military custody during Argentina’s “dirty war.”

Human rights activists say more than 200 babies were born to political prisoners of the dictatorship. Most are believed to have been taken from their mothers and offered for adoption, and 88 of them so far have been identified.

The government news agency Telam said the judge is investigating claims by a former intelligence agent that one of the twins died soon after birth and that the other was abandoned at an orphanage.


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