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Argentinian soldiers 'tortured by their own side' during Falklands War

New records released by the military show the junta imposed cruel punishments on its own forces while fighting against the British

Caroline Mortimer
Tuesday 15 September 2015 18:58 BST
Argentinian Falklands War veterans protest outside the Supreme Court in Buenos Aires
Argentinian Falklands War veterans protest outside the Supreme Court in Buenos Aires (Getty Images)

Argentinian soldiers were subject to abuse and torture by their own side during the Falklands War, according to newly released files.

The first official documents from the 1982 conflict to be made public by the Argentinian military include testimonies from soldiers who say they were poorly equipped, cold and could be severely beaten if they left their posts to find food.

The files also describe mock executions and soldiers being tied up in empty graves, according to the BBC.

At the time of the conflict Argentina was ruled by a brutal military dictatorship, which lasted from 1976 until 1983, that was believed to have “disappeared” thousands of citizens in its “dirty war” against dissent.

One lieutenant described how he was forced to lie face down on wet sand on a cold Falklands beach for eight hours after an officer tied his hands and legs to his back.

An Argentinian soldier in the Falklands during the conflict. 649 soldiers are believed to have been killed (Getty Images)

Argentinian war veterans have claimed for years they were subject to torture and deprivation during the three month conflict.

Ernesto Alonso, from a veterans group in Buenos Aires, told the BBC: “These documents lift the veil on facts that were hidden for so many years by the armed forces.”

The military junta declared war on Great Britain in April 1982 to claim possession of what it called “Las Islas Malvinas”.

A British expeditionary force was sent to defend the islands and regained control in June. Around 255 British servicemen died in the conflict along with an estimated 649 Argentinians.

The unpopularity of the war at home in Argentina contributed to the collapse of the junta a year later but most Argentinians have continued to claim the islands as their own.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has repeatedly denounced what she has called Britain's “colonialism”.

The British government has refused to negotiate giving up control of the islands and said it will defend the self-determination of the approximately 2,900 islanders.

A referendum in March 2013 found that all but three of the 1,517 islanders eligible to vote wanted to remain British.

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