Death in freedom of former head of Ford security during dictatorship puts magnifying glass on court

The fight for justice never ends for the survivors and families of Ford workers’ oppression. The death of Hector Sibylla, former security chief of an automotive company during the dictatorship, reminded him of the worst.

Sibylla was sentenced to 12 years in prison for crimes against humanity in a landmark trial in 2018, which marked the only corporate liability conviction to date. Also convicted were former Ford manufacturing manager Pedro Mueller, who received 10 years in prison, and Santiago Omar Riveros, who received 15 years in prison.

Almost five years have passed since that day and the sentence has not yet been finalised. In September 2021, Chamber II of the Federal Criminal Cassation Chamber confirmed the sentence, but the Supreme Court of Justice has never addressed the matter in nearly two years. Throughout this time, both Sibylla and Müller were at large.

The former Ford executive’s death, which occurred on April 4 and was reported this week, once again exposed the Supreme Court’s systematic delays in these cases. “We demand that the Supreme Court return the cases of crimes against humanity as part of its priorities and resolve this and other files immediately,” said the nation’s human rights secretary for spreading the news.

“Whatever extraordinary appeals and complaints were pending in the court, it is over for us. Any discussion doubting his guilt of being a necessary participant in state terrorism is over,” he said in a conversation with Time Tomas Ojia Quintana, the lawyer for the group of victims and relatives who years ago began the fight to bring the case to trial.

In this sense, the lawyer highlights the great achievement of obtaining convictions and confirming them in another instance: “It is very important for memory, truth and the historical record of the justice process, for the victims themselves and for the union organization In Argentina. Obviously, there is an ambiguity because he was never imprisoned, which would have been consistent with a conviction.

“We wanted him to pay from prison, like everyone who commits these crimes, but not much can be expected from this judicial system. The court is trying to throw him aside and it hurts, because someone wanted him to pay as he should”, Ismael Portillo said in the same vein.

Ismail was one of 24 workers and representatives who were kidnapped inside the Ford factory located in the city of Pacheco. Accompanied by his wife, Arcelia Ortiz, Lulu, he recounts the moment, how he was paraded before his co-workers to instill fear, and the torture many of them suffered in the factory barbecue area, which was known as a Was used as a secret detention center. From there, some were taken to Tigray police station and others to Maschwitz police station, where they disappeared for several weeks, until they were legalized and moved to different prisons.

“What the company did was such a great outrage. They kidnapped us that day, torturing us, they sent me a telegram saying if they didn’t consider me fired, to come to work the next day report. How far evil goes,” Portillo said.

At the time, the head of security was Sibylla, who had been in the military for a good part of his life. After the kidnapping, in July 1976, Sibylla, already retired, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel of the army.

“He was a man who worked in security in the company and who should have protected his people. He handed them over and also witnessed the torture sessions at the Tigray police station,” said Elisa Charlene de, widow of Pedro Troyani, the main promoter of the cause. said Troiani, who died in 2021.

The company’s role in these crimes was proven in 2018 through accounts from survivors, such as Portillo or Troiani, and their wives, Lulu and Elisa, who searched for them for months and in that search, an army officer told them about all of them. A list containing the names of those abducted was shown which had been made on a piece of paper bearing the Ford logo.

“The delay of so many years is because of the justice we do not have in this country. Justice and the great power that the Ford Company has, because otherwise, it would not have taken so long,” Elisa explained and added: “Time is running out. I was 30 when the arrests started, today I will be 77, what can I expect?

“When justice is so slow, it ceases to be justice. For the one who waits and for the one who suffers and suffers. Because it backfired on everything, our children and grandchildren also suffered. An eternal fear persists and the word kidnapping hurts my chest and heart,” said Lulu, who expressed her regret that the injustice continues: “This cause is our life. This happened 47 years ago, we left 47 years ago. ,

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