Argentina, 30 years ago, the Dirty War. The military junta has depending on who you believe between 9.000 and 30.000 people arrested, questioned, tortured and “disappear”. The preferred method of killing is to load these poor bastards, mostly trade-unionists, students and activists in a plane or helicopter, fly out to sea a few hundreds and simply toss them overboard with some extra cement blocks attached. After a civilian administration took over, these crimes have been brought to trial, with mixed success.
Fast forward to yesterday. A Transavia Boeing 737 is about to leave the airport of Valencia (Spain) back home to Amsterdam. The long time Transavia pilot who has both a Dutch and an Argentinean passport is to carry out his last flight before pension. On request of the Argentinean justice department though he is arrested. He is suspected of having carried out one or more of these flights of death. Sometimes you can run, but you can’t hide.
Nice detail: The Dutch secret service screens every individual who works at Amsterdam airport, including pilots.
Update: The news is all over the place now. Julio P. was already put on an international arrest order by Argentina on March of this year. The Netherlands did not arrest him as he is a Dutch citizen. The fact he was arrested by the Spanish police on his last flight fuels speculation the Dutch tipped off Spanish authorities, but also raises some eyebrows why this was not done earlier. Julio reportedly always defended the “war against left terrorists”, more or less bragged about him being one of these pilots to his colleagues and told them “the crazy mothers should not worry, these people were all drugged before they were dropped into the sea”.
Update: The pilots detention has been extended.
Update: Above mentioned screening by the secret service normally results in a so called “statement of no objection”. Such statements can and sometimes are withdrawn. Transavia has stated Julio P.’s statement of no objection has not been withdrawn.
Update Oct 31: Julio P will be sent to Argentina according to Argentinan newspaper ‘La Nacion’. Innocent until proven guilty, but this does not look good for him. The Spanish government OK-ed his extradition last Friday, but a judge is still to approve it. To avoid being sent to Argentina, his Dutch lawyer asked the Dutch government to also ask P’s extradition to the Netherlands. Interesting legal move, but I doubt if it’ll work.