Autopsy reveals Argentine ex-dictator died of heart attack

Buenos Aires, May 21 (IANS/EFE) Gen. Rafael Videla, the emblematic figure of the military junta that ruled Argentina from 1976-83, died of a heart attack resulting from injuries and broken bones he suffered five days earlier when he fell in the shower, judicial sources told the official Telam news agency.

The erstwhile strongman was found dead Friday inside his cell at the prison where he was serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity.

The preliminary medical report said that May 12, Videla has taken “a fall while showering in one of the bathrooms at the Marcos Paz Prison that resulted in broken bones”.

The document added that the former dictator was taking anticoagulant medications, which – with the fractures resulting from the fall – caused internal hemorrhaging that led to a heart attack.

Judge Juan Pablo Salas is still awaiting other complementary studies, including a toxicology report, which will be completed within 20 days, the sources told Telam.

It is expected that the judge will meet with relatives of Videla to notify them of the autopsy results and it will be then that the remains of the former strongman will be turned over to them for burial.

The Videla family has not disclosed where they plan to bury the general.

Videla was sentenced to life in prison in 2010 after a conviction for the summary executions of some 30 political prisoners in 1976.

Last year, a court imposed a 50-year sentence on Videla for his part in a systematic plan to steal children from political detainees.

The Argentine military regime killed as many as 30,000 people and brutalized thousands more.

Thanks to amnesty laws passed in the 1980s, the junta’s crimes went unpunished for decades, but Argentina’s Congress voted in 2003 to overturn the amnesties, which paved the way for a raft of prosecutions.

The first trial of Videla and his junta colleagues was in 1985, when they were convicted and sentenced to life in prison, only to be pardoned in 1990 by then-president Carlos Menem.



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