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Agustin Feced

Agustin Feced was a Major and Commander of the Argentine National Gendarmerie, and the head of the Police of the Province of Santa Fe for the city of Rosario, during the Dirty War. He was in charge of the 2nd Regional Police Corps, and he was also part of Intelligence Battalion 601 of the Argentine Army since June 1974, before the beginning of the military dictatorship, in the last days of the presidency of Juan Peron.

He was born in Acebal, Santa Fe. He was officially declared dead in 1986 but this is disputed, it has been widely claimed that he was still alive after this date.

Between 1976 and 1979, and already under the dictatorship of the Proceso de Reorganizacion Nacional, Feced was the head of the Intelligence Service of the 2nd Corps, which doubled as an illegal detention center . His office coordinated the repressive scheme in Rosario and its neighboring areas. People were kidnapped by squads and taken to the IS to be held and tortured. Feced is known to have taken part in the kidnappings, in torture sessions when the victim was for some reason interesting to him, and in the killings, which were often conducted in faraway locations and sometimes passed as fights between the police and armed terrorists. Two of Feced's foremost assistants in these crimes were Jose Ruben Lo Fiego and Mario Alfredo Marcote.

The Intelligence Service is now a memorial site called Centro Popular de la Memoria (People's Memorial Center), preserved by an organization of victim's relatives.

Initial investigations

According to the extensive research conducted after the end of the Proceso, 720 people were "disappeared" in Santa Fe and 350 in Rosario. Feced, together with then-Commander of the 2nd Army Corps Leopoldo Galtieri, is considered responsible for most of them. Before the closing of the case against him, Feced was accused of 270 crimes against humanity. Though Rosario had comparatively a smaller amount of "disappeared" people than other metropolitan areas, the proportion of those kidnapped that were set free from the detention centers and camps is also smaller, and there were many more victims of torture and murder.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Council started an investigation about Feced in 1983, and produced a large amount of documentation including lists of missing people, anonymous burials in a cemetery in Rosario, and tens of criminal collaborators.

Feced's cover-up and alleged death

This investigation took 3 years before it was passed on to the Federal Justice in Rosario. Feced was in theory to be in prison since the official opening of the case on 1984-01-31; later he was transferred by justice to the custody of the Military Hospital of Campo de Mayo (Buenos Aires). There he is claimed to have undergone heart surgery in 1985. At the time, though, he was in fact free in Formosa. These facts point to complicity and protection by many powerful interest . On 1986-07-21, Feced was officially declared dead by the Military Hospital.

Many witnesses, survivors of the IS, claim to have seen Feced alive after that date. An admission book of the Ariston Hotel in Rosario, presented as evidence to the court by journalist Claudio de Luca, showed a signature with Feced's handwriting, dated 1988-07-29. Francisco Oyarzabal, brother of a murdered victim, reported that Feced had been seen alive in Paraguay.

The investigation of the Intelligence Service case was archived in 1987 after the passing of the laws called Ley de Obediencia Debida (Law of Due Obedience) and Ley de Punto Final (Full Stop Law), during the presidency of Raul Alfonsin, which restricted the accountability for human rights abuses to the highest levels of the military hierarchy (who had been already tried) and put an end to ongoing criminal investigations into the lower levels.

On 1989-12-15 the Penal Federal Court of Rosario, without giving weight to the above inconsistencies, declared the case against Feced extinct (closed) due to his alleged death. The rest of the people involved in the crimes of the Intelligence Service were pardoned by decree of President Carlos Menem in 1989–1990.

Del Frade's research

Research conducted by journalist Carlos del Frade since 1999, and published in 2002, shows that Feced's last recorded domicile was in the city of Buenos Aires. Though he was supposedly ill and senile, one of his former neighbors, interviewed by del Frade, contradicts this impression.

Within the San Antonio Cemetery in Formosa, in the area reserved for members of the Gendarmeria, there is a grave with the name of Agustin Feced, and an announcement in the local newspaper La Manana says that he was buried there the same day of his death, at 5:30 PM. The official records of the cemetery show only one person being buried there and then, and it is not Feced; but he does appear in an old notebook also found there. The unofficial record in the notebook was written by Ramon Gimenez, Feced's son-in-law and then a top government official. Feced's coffin is sealed in the wall next to another one that dates from the mid-1990s, and almost 3 meters above the ground. According to the guardian of the cemetery, San Antonio did not have lifts for coffins "until a few years ago" (1999), and work hours are 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, so Feced could not have been buried like that "unless [somebody] brought three ladders and a lot of people to get [the coffin] up there."

Re-opening of the case

The case against the officers of the Intelligence Division, including Feced and many of his collaborators, was re-opened by federal judge Omar Digeronimo on 2004-09-06, who ordered a number of arrests. Jose Lo Fiego, Mario Marcote and another former police officer, Jose Carlos Scortechini, surrendered themselves almost immediately, but denying all the accusations.



La Capital, 2003-10-05. Los territorios de la Causa Feced.

La Capital, 2004-09-07. Digeronimo firmo el decreto de reapertura de la causa Feced.

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