Argentina's 'death flight' pilots to go on trial

Here you can see Jorge Acosta, chief of ESMA, on the right, and other ex-generals, being sentenced for crimes against humanity.

BUENOS AIRES - Pilots accused of flying "death flights" during Argentina's 1976-1983 dictatorship will be tried for allegedly throwing live prisoners - including a nun - into the sea, the judiciary said Friday.

The defendants include former pilots Julio Poch and Enrique de Saint Georges as well as lawyer Gonzalo Torres de Tolosa, said the Judicial Information Center (ICJ) of the country's Supreme Court.

Three other pilots have also been accused.

Torres de Tolosa is the only civilian alleged to have participated in the flights and tortured political prisoners.

The trial is part of an ongoing effort to investigate crimes against humanity committed at a notorious naval school.

The first hearings were conducted in 2011 and resulted in several life sentences.

Poch, a 59-year-old Dutch national, is a former military pilot who was extradited to Argentina from Spain in May 2010, eight months after his arrest at an airport in Valencia.

Retiring from his post as a lieutenant in the Argentine Navy in 1981, Poch settled in Holland with his wife and three children.

At the time of his arrest, he was working as a pilot for Transavia, a subsidiary of Air France and KLM.

Hundreds of prisoners from ESMA were victims of the death flights, thrown alive into the river or sea from military aircraft. One of the victims was French nun Leonie Duquet.

Some 30,000 people were disappeared during the dictatorship, according to human rights organisations.

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