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Spanish police arrest ex-Argentine president

Published January 13, 2007


MADRID - Former Argentine President Isabel Peron was briefly detained Friday in Madrid as part of investigations into the South American country's past human rights abuses, police said.

She appeared at Spain's National Court, which released her conditionally three hours after her arrest, pending an extradition request from Argentina.

An Argentine investigative judge wants to question Peron about her chaotic 20-month rule, a time when shadowy right-wing violence destabilized Argentina. The third wife of three-time president Juan Domingo Peron was ousted in the March 1976 coup that ushered in a seven-year dictatorship that waged a "dirty war" against its opponents.

Peron, 75, has lived in exile in Spain since 1981. Her arrest marked the expansion of Argentina's investigations beyond dictatorship-era crimes to the death squads that terrorized the nation before the 1976 coup.

Peron was wanted for questioning about three decrees she approved in her brief presidential tenure, calling on armed forces to crack down on "subversive elements." She was also wanted for questioning in connection with the disappearance of leftist Hector Aldo Fagetti.

Maria Estela Martinez de Peron - known as Isabel - was sworn in as president in 1974 after the death of her husband.



[Last modified January 13, 2007, 01:16:08]

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