Fourth Hearing

Former chaplain Von Wernich “repressed and tortured” Timerman’s father

[leer en español]

The Argentine consul in New York, Héctor Timerman, declared today that his father recognized Ramón Camps, Jorge Bergés and Christian Von Wernich from his captivity and torture following his kidnapping in 1977. He asserted that the former chaplain “acted as a repressor and torturer, not as a priest.”

Héctor Timerman, the Argentine consul in New York, testified Monday on the kidnapping and disappearance of his father Jacobo Timerman, naming several former participants in the operation of Clandestine Detention Centers that still work in the fields of security and justice in Argentina.

Héctor Timerman described the presence of Von Wernich during the time of his father’s detention: “Von Wernich was one of those who tortured my father, he was present in several interrogations, when they took off [my father’s] blindfold, he could see him seated next to former head of Buenos Aires Police, Ramón Camps.” He also noted that “[his father] was blindfolded, but the blindfold would sometimes fall off because of the electric shocks. This allowed him to recognize the people present during the torture sessions.”

Gustavo Timerman, Jacobo Timerman’s second son, also briefly recalled his experience and his family’s suffering in the years during and following his father’s detainment. He stated that it was when Ramón Camps published his book “The Timerman Case” that his father first explicitly cited Christian Von Wernich as one of his torturers. Pointing to a letter in the book written by Von Wernich, Jacobo Timerman told his son: “that’s the person I was telling you about,” referring to the priest who was present during his torture sessions.

On the matter of witness protection, Timerman echoed some of the concerns voiced late last week during the Miralles testimony: “witnesses are potential victims because there are people who participated in the military dictatorship that still have ties to the fields of security and justice.” As an example, he mentioned judge Roberto Durrieu, former sub-secretary for Justice during the years of the dictatorship. He also mentioned Jorge Julio López, a witness from the 2006 trial of Miguel Etchecolatz who disappeared mysteriously some nine months ago, asserting that “this should be alarming to all Argentines.” Though Timerman denied having himself received any personal threats, he maintained that “one always has fears, those are the risks of democracy.”

Despite his concerns regarding the safety of witnesses, Timerman emphasized the importance of providing testimony against Von Wernich: “democracy in Argentina will only be complete when all have been judged, including civilians, and when the victims’ suffering is fully recognized.”

Kidnapping and extorsion in COTI Martínez
Testimony was also provided by Rafael María Perrota Bengolea, son of Rafael Perrota, the former editor-in-chief of the newspaper “El Cronista Comercial.” Recalling the circumstances of his father’s captivity, he described the large ransom that his family attempted to pay in exchange for his father’s life. Perrota, who was detained and tortured in the Clandestine Detention Center known as COTI Martínez was never seen again.

Eight days in Puesto Vasco
The last witness to speak was Dr. Alfredo Abuin, who was held for eight days in the detention center known as “Puesto Vasco.” According to his testimony, he was not tortured, but suffered what he described as psychological torment while living in conditions in which he described as inhumane.

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La Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos La Plata es una organización no gubernamental cuyos objetivos son: Defender los Derechos Humanos en su acepción más amplia, contribuir a su enseñanza y a su difusión, dotar a esta temática de sólidos fundamentos jurídicos y académicos con una clara visión de futuro mediante la investigación y la docencia. Llevar adelante los reclamos de Memoria, Verdad y Justicia para nuestro pueblo. Llevar adelante el Juicio por la verdad, iniciado junto a otros organismos y particulares en 1998 ante la Cámara Federal de La Plata y a las causas penales derivadas del Juicio por la Verdad.

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