Argentina Dirty War: Two former Ford executives jailed

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Argentina Dirty War: Two former Ford executives jailed

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Pedro Muller (left) and Hector Sibilla said they would appeal against the verdict

Two former Ford executives in Argentina have been given long jail sentences for collaborating with the country's brutal military regime in 1976-83.

Factory manager Pedro Muller was sentenced to 10 years and ex-security chief Hector Sibilla given 12 years.

They were found guilty of providing information about leftist union leaders who were later kidnapped and tortured.

It is the first time multinational firm staff have been convicted for crimes committed during the dictatorship.

Both Muller and Sibilla said they would appeal against the verdict.

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The jail sentences were handed down by a court near the capital Buenos Aires on Tuesday.

The court stated that the two men "were necessary participants in the illegal deprivation of liberty, aggravated by the use of violence and threats" with the aim of political persecution, AFP news agency reports.

The court also found that Sibilla was present during at least one torture session.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Some victims of the military junta and their family members welcomed the court ruling

The crimes were committed at Ford's factory on the outskirts of the capital.

After the verdict, family members of the victims burst into applause in the packed courtroom.

During the trial, prosecutors had asked for 25 years in prison for each of the accused.

Ford Argentina has so far made no public comments on the issue.

About 30,000 people are estimated to have been killed by the military in its infamous Dirty War against dissidents during the dictatorship.

Argentina's military regime

Image copyright AFP
Image caption General Videla (right) seized power in 1976

1976: General Jorge Rafael Videla seizes power – thousands of political opponents rounded up and killed

1982: Videla's successor, General Leopoldo Galtieri, orders invasion of British-held Falkland Islands

1983: Civilian rule returns to Argentina, investigations into rights abuses begin

2010: Videla sentenced to life imprisonment for murders during his term in office

2012: Videla sentenced to 50 years for overseeing systematic theft of the babies of political prisoners

2013: Videla dies in prison, aged 87

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