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    Alleged torturer tracked down in US faces court

    Latin American victims and relatives defy passing decades and national boundaries

    Duncan Campbell
    Tuesday October 19, 2004
    The Guardian

    More than 20 years ago, a journalist called Oscar Reyes and his wife Gloria, an interior designer, were taken from their home in Tegucigalpa, Honduras by members of the country's armed forces as part of an operation against suspected "subversives."
    Over the following days, Oscar was suspended by handcuffs from a pulley and beaten while Gloria had electric shocks applied to her breasts and genitals before being beaten unconscious with rifle butts.

    Now the man in charge of the country's intelligence service at the time has been tracked down to Florida and faces a civil action in the American courts brought by the Reyes and relatives of other detainees who did not survive to tell the tale.

    The case is the latest in a series showing that military and intelligence chiefs whose forces were responsible for extra-judicial killings and torture can no longer escape trial by fleeing the country where the atrocities took place.

    The case is due to be heard in a court in Miami, and involves the former Honduran military intelligence chief, Colonel Juan López Grijalba.

    Six people, five of them now resident in the US, allege that Col López Grijalba was responsible for the torture, disappearance and killing of Honduran civilians during the 1980s.

    More than 150 people died during that period. Col López Grijalba was the head of the secret police force called DNI, and Battalion 3/16, a death squad operating at the time of the incidents.
 
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