Uruguayan woman given proper burial 47 years after abduction by dictatorship

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A Uruguayan female who was abducted by information forces during nan country’s subject dictatorship has received a due burial, astir 50 years aft she was forcibly disappeared.

Bone fragments of Amelia Sanjurjo were exhumed precisely a twelvemonth agone from a subject guidelines successful a mini confederate municipality successful Uruguay. She was yet identified past week aft investigators took DNA samples from her maternal aunt and nephews successful Uruguay, Spain and Italy successful hopes of uncovering a match.

Sanjurjo, remembered by family and friends arsenic a benignant and diligent worker astatine a publishing location and a personnel of Uruguay’s Communist party, was 41 years aged and recently pregnant erstwhile she was seized connected nan streets of Montevideo connected 2 November 1977. Prosecutors said that she died aft being beaten and tortured astatine a subject detention halfway six days aft her arrest.

The recognition of her remains was a uncommon occurrence for forensic teams who person only recovered nan remains of 5 different vanished group successful Uruguay since excavations began successful 2005.

People successful a crowd clasp flags and clasp a tribute for Amelia Sanjurjo
People clasp a tribute for Amelia Sanjurjo during her ceremonial work successful Montevideo, Uruguay, connected 6 June 2024. Photograph: Matilde Campodonico/AP

The immense mostly of nan astir 200 group kidnapped and killed during nan country’s dictatorship stay unidentified.

The hunt for bony fragments, teeth and shreds of clothing, investigators say, is nan hardest part, fixed that members of nan dictatorship deliberately destroyed remains successful an effort to contradict that detainees were tortured and killed.

“Each caller recognition is simply a joy. It’s a nickname of a awesome task that is carried retired softly by a full group of professionals, archaeologists, anthropologists, geneticists, historians,” said Carlos Vullo, nan familial laboratory head of nan Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, which assisted pinch Sanjurjo’s identification.

In downtown Montevideo connected Thursday, somber crowds thronged nan mini woody container that held Sanjurjo’s remains extracurricular Uruguay’s University of nan Republic, location to nan forensic investigators that identified her utilizing familial testing. Some hugged. Others wept.

Representatives for nan relatives of Uruguay’s vanished paid tribute to Sanjurjo’s precocious begetter and sister, who they said devoted their lives to searching for Sanjurjo and died without getting answers.

“Today intends we person recovered Amelia and are capable to opportunity goodbye to her, which was nan correct point to do for galore years,” said Ignacio Errandonea, a personnel of nan group whose relatives were disappeared.

Sanjurjo’s surviving relatives, coming scattered astir Europe, sent a connection to beryllium publication aloud astatine her wake, wherever supporters placed reddish and yellowish roses connected her coffin.

A female places a roseate connected Amelia Sanjurjo’s coffin
A female places a roseate connected Amelia Sanjurjo’s coffin during her ceremonial successful Montevideo, Uruguay, connected 6 June 2024. Photograph: Matilde Campodonico/AP

Mikaela Mall, a typical of nan relatives, delivered a family statement, saying: “The dictatorship was sadistic to her arsenic it was to truthful galore others, making her salary dearly for nan elemental and brave enactment of dreaming of a much conscionable and supportive world … She dedicated her full life to her activism and was accordant until nan very end.”

The recognition of victims is portion of a broader effort to present justness and accountability 40 years aft nan extremity of nan dictatorship successful Uruguay, a traumatic section of history arsenic convulsive authoritarian norm swept done South America. From 1973 to 1985, Uruguay’s subject unleashed a run of repression aft having mostly defeated a guerrilla uprising, disappearing 197 people, according to nan government’s count.

An untold number of Uruguayans abducted by nan subject dictatorship ended up detained successful Argentina arsenic a consequence of Operation Condor, a concealed scheme carried retired by respective South American dictatorships to destruct their leftwing opponents. Forensic teams person truthful acold identified 31 vanished Uruguayans based connected remains recovered elsewhere successful nan region, including Argentina’s clandestine detention centers.

Argentina’s reckoning pinch its peculiarly sadistic past has been acold much extended than that of Uruguay and different neighboring countries. After nan return of civilian norm successful Uruguay, nan authorities enacted an amnesty covering nan crimes of nan dictators arsenic good arsenic their guerrilla opponents, delaying nan judicial process.

In Argentina, wherever quality authorities groups estimate 30,000 group were forcibly disappeared, courts person handed down much than 300 verdicts and delivered sentences to thousands of subject officials complete dictatorship-era crimes. In Uruguay, less than than 30 tests person occurred.

Recent ineligible changes activity to velocity nan justness process along. The Uruguayan president, Luis Lacalle Pou, said Sanjurjo’s recognition shows “the government’s committedness to nan hunt for nan disappeared”.

Source theguardian