Argentinian doctors being tried for Dirty War baby theft

19 November 2014 by Luciana Bertoia, Buenos Aires (Argentina)

A landmark trial in Argentina sheds a first light on the role of doctors and other medical personnel in cases during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship where babies were snatched from imprisoned activists and handed illegally to other families to raise them.

Judges trying five hospital and military personnel accused of operating a clandestine detention centre are expected to deliver their ruling next month. The case centres on nine women held at a military hospital within the Campo de Mayo base in Greater Buenos Aires and kept in the epidemiology ward before having their newborns taken from them. The facility operated as an ordinary hospital, but it also held dozens of pregnant political prisoners.

The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, a group founded in 1977 by women seeking their snatched grandchildren, is one of two plaintiffs in the case at a federal court in Buenos Aires. 

“There were many illegal detention centres where pregnant women delivered their babies during the last dictatorship, but unlike the others, the so-called maternity ward in the Campo de Mayo was semi-clandestine,” the Grandmothers’ lawyer, Alan Iud, told IJT. 

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