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Luis Patti

Luis Abelardo Patti (born 26 November 1952) is an Argentine politician and a former senior police officer, accused of involvement in torture and murder during the 1970s. He is leader of the conservative Federalist Union Party.

Patti was born in Baigorrita, Buenos Aires Province and as a child worked in a bakery. He entered Policia Bonaerense's police school at 16 years old and was first stationed to the northern suburbs of Buenos Aires around Pilar and Escobar Partido. Accusations against him date back to his early years in the force, a period of political instability and tough police action against guerilla, dissident and other activities. In 1973, he was accused in a local newspaper of killing three youths wrongly believed to have committed a crime. Patti was tried for the torture of a prisoner in 1976, but the trial was suspended and not resumed before the time limit. In 1983 he faced two further trials, including for the kidnapping and murder of Osvaldo Cambiasso and Eduardo Pereyra Rossi. La Camara de Diputados impidio la asuncion de Luis Patti, Rio Negro , May 24, 2006 Again both trials were suspended. He rose through the ranks to become a police inspector and commisar and was decorated. In 1990 he faced accusations of torturing two alleged thieves with electricity Biography of Luis Abelardo Patti on Desaparecidos NGO website /.

In 1991 Patti was appointed by President Carlos Menem to lead the high-profile investigation into the murder of a young woman, Maria Soledad Morales, in Catamarca Province. He concluded it was a crime of passion, amid further allegations of the use of torture with suspects, but some years later the son of a politician with influential friends was convicted of the murder after a separate investigation.

Political career

In 1993, Patti left the police and joined the Justicialist Party. He wrote a column in the La Prensa newspaper and was appointed Intervenor of the Central Market by the government.

Despite the accusations against him and graffiti around the area, Patti was elected Mayor of Escobar in 1995 with 73% of the vote.

In 1999 Patti launched a new party, Unidad Bonaerense, now called Partido Unidad Federalista (PA.U.FE). He was re-elected in Escobar that same year and stood to be Governor of Buenos Aires province.

In 2005 Patti stood to be deputy in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies on the same ticket as Hilda Gonzalez de Duhalde, candidate for the Senate, and was elected. However he was prevented from taking his seat because of the allegations against him, following a vote of the existing deputies. His replacement Dante Camano, formerly a supporter of Duhalde's faction (opposed to president Kirchner), turned over to favour the presidential faction.

Human rights vs. democracy, editorial from the Buenos Aires Herald /.

Although he has never been convicted, Patti has admitted having a role in torture, albeit whilst justifying the act. He and his tough stance on law and order remain popular in Greater Buenos Aires. Legislators from ARI, with government support, are attempting to change Argentine law to prevent those accused of involvement from torture from taking public positions, a move which is highly controversial.

In 2008, while Patti's actions during the 1970s were still under formal investigation, the Supreme Court of Argentina ruled against the decision of the Chamber of Deputies, saying that he should be allowed to take his seat in Congress. This caused controversy with the Cabinet Chief Alberto Fernandez saying that there was a "conflict of powers" between the legislative and the judicial branches of government.

Threats against witnesses and Gerez's dubious abduction

On the night of 27 December 2006, Luis Gerez, a Peronist workers' activist who had testified before Congress that Patti was in charge of torture sessions he endured in 1972, was supposedly kidnapped, and re-appeared two days later, immediately after a televised presidential speech on the subject, and purportedly bearing signs of forced restraint and torture [*].

Since then, public prosecutors havent found any prove to support the hypothesis of a genuine abduction , and consequently they have followed the theory of self-kidnapping [*] [*]. At the moment, prosecutors are undergoing fierce harassment by pro-governmental law-makers who are demanding them to shift their suspicions into another direction, namely Patti [*]. Gerez, who has recently been given an office in the Buenos Aires province legislature, has recognized that it's possible to cast doubt on his abduction. Thirty years where necessary to acknowledge that there was genocide in Argentina. People will need time to understand my abduction, he said [*].

Gerez had received threats since his testimony on 20 April. Gerez's disappearance was interpreted by the government as a message from groups who resent the re-opening of cases against Dirty War criminals, following the disappearance of Jorge Julio Lopez, a witness of the Miguel Etchecolatz trial who is missing since September 2006. Two others who testified in Congress against Patti, Orlando Ubiedo and Hugo Esteban Jaime, had received threats during November and December 2006.. Manhunt launched for second missing witness, Buenos Aires Herald

El testigo Gerez aparecio vivo y con huellas de tortura, La Nacion, December 30, 2006 Hallaron con vida al militante desaparecido en Escobar, Clarin, December 30, 2006 Gerez aparecio tras 48 horas de secuestro, Pagina/12, December 30, 2006 'Dirty War' witness safe and well, BBC, December 30, 2006

Patti himself denied any involvement in the threats and the kidnapping of Gerez, and claimed not to remember if Gerez had been arrested under his custody because "it was 30 years ago". He accused others of making political use of the disappearance. Patti: "Ahora podemos respirar tranquilos", La Nacion, December 30, 2006

External links

Las lecciones del caso Gerez - Rebrotes, por Horacio Verbitsky in Pagina/12, December 31, 2006

Official website

Terra profile

Allegations of torture and murder (PDF)

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Luis Patti

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