May 11, 2018 / 6:17 PM / 5 months ago

Spain to extradite ex-Uruguayan army officer for human rights trial

(Reuters) - Spain has approved the extradition of a former Uruguayan military officer to the South American country, where he faces charges of human rights violations during Uruguay’s 1973-1985 military dictatorship, the Spanish government said on Friday.

Eduardo Augusto Ferro Bizzozero, a former colonel, is accused of being a leading protagonist in the so-called “Operation Condor” program of cooperation between several South American governments at the time to combat political dissidents.

Uruguay had issued an international capture request so that it could put Ferro on trial for the kidnapping and killing of a labour activist, who prosecutors say was taken from his home by Ferro and two other military officials in 1977. The activist was beaten and tortured at a clandestine detention site, according to a complaint filed by his wife.

Ferro left Uruguay in October 2016, according to the country’s migration directorate.

Spanish authorities said he had been detained in the European country.

Before leaving Uruguay, Ferro had been a vocal opponent of its investigations into forced disappearances during the dictatorship, arguing in several interviews that society needed to “turn the page, without winners or losers.”

“Some wounds are long-healed, but in some cases there are people who want to reopen them for various reasons,” he said in a 2013 interview. “We continue carrying the weight of people who do not want us to move forward.”

Reporting by Malena Castaldi in Montevideo; Writing by Luc Cohen, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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