There were reports of torture and ill-treatment resulting in at least two deaths. There was little progress in investigations into past "disappearances". Several people were killed by the police in circumstances suggesting that they had been extrajudicially executed. A new Constitution was approved in August, allowing presidents to stand for re-election. It granted constitutional status to a number of international and regional human rights treaties and created the office of Ombudsman for the defence and protection of human rights. An article was incorporated which gave formal recognition to the rights of indigenous peoples. In December parliament passed a law awarding compensation to the relatives of those who had "disappeared" between 1976 and 1983 during the so-called "dirty war". In July a car-bomb razed a building in Buenos Aires housing two Jewish cultural organizations, killing 96 people. No one had been charged with the bombing by the end of 1994, and no political group had admitted responsibility. There were violent demonstrations by public employees in the province of Jujuy in April, in the province of El Chaco in October, and in the province of Tucumán in December. The demonstrations were called to demand the payment of unpaid wages and wage increases. There were also riots, hunger-strikes and other protests against prison conditions in the Federal Capital and several provinces, including Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Jujuy, Mendoza and Salta. In October, for the first time ever, a serving navy officer, Captain Antonio Pernías, publicly admitted that the navy had engaged in torture of prisoners during the "dirty war" of 1976 to 1983. Captain Pernías acknowledged that the navy had used torture as "a tool" in the fight against subversion. Another navy officer, Captain Juan Carlos Rolón, stated that the so-called "task groups" that were engaged in the clandestine operations of the "dirty war", including torture and extrajudicial executions, were an intrinsic part of the navy's operations. The officers made the admission before a Senate committee which subsequently withheld agreement for their promotion. Criticizing the Senate's decision, President Carlos Menem said that it was better to forget the past. President Menem further stated that it was thanks to the armed forces "that we fought and triumphed in that dirty war which took our community to the brink of collapse". In September Guillermo Maqueda, a student convicted as a result of a miscarriage of justice (see Amnesty International Report 1990), was released early: he had served five years of a 10-year prison sentence. There were reports of torture and ill-treatment in several provinces, resulting in at least two deaths. In February Diego Rodríguez Laguens, a forestry expert, was reportedly detained by the Jujuy provincial police and allegedly beaten to death in San Pedro police station. The police denied that Diego Rodríguez Laguens had been detained and claimed that he was killed in a road accident. Following a judicial inquiry, three police officers were indicted with unlawful detention and murder. At the end of the year they were awaiting trial. A witness who saw the torture was severely beaten by unidentified assailants and the lawyer acting for the victim's family reportedly received death threats. In April the body of an 18-year-old military conscript, Omar Octavio Carrasco, who had been declared missing and a deserter, was found within the grounds of 161 Army Battalion in Zapala, Neuquén province. The body reportedly had severe injuries on the chest and shoulder and had one eye missing. Omar Octavio Carrasco apparently died inside the barracks after being kicked unconscious by low-ranking officials. A military officer, a soldier and a former soldier were in custody awaiting trial charged with his murder, and two officers were charged with being involved in a cover-up. In August, following a national outcry caused by the crime, a presidential decree abolished compulsory military service and granted an amnesty to past draft avoiders. A number of police officers were convicted of torture and sentenced to prison terms. In March two police officers were sentenced to life imprisonment for the killing under torture in 1993 of Ramón Buchón, a builder, in San Nicolás, Buenos Aires province. In October a police officer was sentenced to life imprisonment and seven other officers to prison terms ranging from three to eight years for torturing to death Oscar Mario Sargiotti in Córdoba province in December 1990. The convicted officers appealed against the sentences. There was no progress in investigations into "disappearances". Miguel Brú, a student, was alleged to have "disappeared" in August 1993 after filing a complaint against members of La Plata 9th Police Station for illegally searching his house (see Amnesty International Report 1994). However, two police officers were charged with illegally searching Miguel Brú's home in April 1993. No progress was reported in the investigations into the "disappearances" of Pablo Cristian Guardatti in May 1992 and three others in 1990 (see Amnesty International Report 1993). Human rights campaigners accused the government of failing to act to obtain information on thousands of people who "disappeared" after being abducted by the military and security forces during the "dirty war". In August General Cristiano Nicolaides, former commander-in-chief of the army, stated in court that during the years of military rule the army kept files on "disappeared" children and that the army had kept written records about the functioning of the clandestine detention centres. He also stated that all aspects of the fight against subversion were closely regulated. In September Dr Elena Mendoza, a lawyer working on "disappearances" with the human rights organization Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, reportedly received death threats. In November a judge in a civil damage suit ordered two former commanders-in-chief of the navy to pay a total of US$1 million each in compensation to the relatives of four members of a family who "disappeared" during the "dirty war". There were several reports of police killings in circumstances which suggested they were extrajudicial executions. In January Norberto Corbo, Héctor Bielsa, Gustavo Mendoza and Edgardo Cicuttín were killed by the police in Wilde, Buenos Aires province. The four men were travelling in two separate cars which were intercepted by members of the Lanus Investigations Brigade, who alleged they were searching for criminal suspects. The police fired more than 200 bullets at the cars, killing three occupants of one car and one of the other. The police alleged that they were returning fire. However, the only survivor of the shooting denied that there was any exchange of fire and no arms were found in his car. Ten police officers were initially charged with homicide and placed in preventive detention, but were later released. In September Roberto Fabián Coronel, an inmate of Mendoza Provincial Penitentiary, was killed in suspicious circumstances. Initially the authorities claimed that Roberto Fabián Coronel had been beaten to death by other inmates. However, further investigations established that he had been shot dead, allegedly by a prison guard. A judicial investigation was opened. In July, three police officers were condemned to 11 years' imprisonment for the extrajudicial execution, in May 1987, of three youths in Ingeniero Budge, Buenos Aires province. The officers were released pending an appeal and at least one of them remained on active duty. In January Amnesty International published a report, Argentina: Journalism, a Dangerous Profession, which described physical attacks on journalists, death threats and other forms of intimidation. Amnesty International repeatedly appealed to the government to investigate thoroughly and impartially reports of torture and ill-treatment by police and prison officers and to take steps to prevent such abuses. Amnesty International condemned the bombing in Buenos Aires in which 96 people were killed.
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