> ANSA English > News

Argentina seeks arrest of Italian priest for rights abuses

Priest accused of crimes against humanity

17 December, 14:08
Argentina seeks arrest of Italian priest for rights abuses (ANSA) - Parma, December 17 - An Italian priest is being sought for crimes against humanity in Argentina, where he is accused of involvement with the brutal military dictatorship of the 1970s, a newspaper reported Monday.

According to Corriere della Sera, federal prosecutors in San Rafael, Argentina have asked for the arrest of Father Franco Reverberi, who is now living in the province of Parma in north-central Italy.

The priest's name appeared recently on an Interpol list of suspects accused of human rights violations during the rule of Jorge Rafael Videla, who was president of Argentina from 1976 to 1981. Two years ago Videla was sentenced to life in prison for the deaths of 31 prisoners following his coup d'etat and in July 2012 he received an additional 50-year prison sentence for the systematic kidnapping of children during his rule.

According to reports, Reverberi witnessed the torture of dissidents under Videla, without doing anything to stop it. The allegations against him say that the fact a priest witnessed their suffering made the victims feel even more alone and abandoned.

Argentina has asked for the help of international police authorities to capture the priest, who is said to have heart problems.

The newspaper quoted Reverberi, now working in the parish in Sorbolo near Parma, as denying the allegations against him.

"The facts date back to 1976, while I was chaplain in 1980," he told the newspaper.

"I am a priest, I told the truth. Do I look like someone who was with Videla torturers?".