Former 'Ford Argentina' executives sentenced in torture cases
Former Ford Motor Co. executive Hector Sibilla leaves a courthouse on Dec. 11 after he was sentenced to 12 years for crimes against humanity committed against 24 Argentine union workers during the country's 1976-1983 military dictatorship, in Buenos Aires. The court said that Sibilla, then the security manager, along with the factory manufacturing director, targeted workers and were co-authors of human rights abuses including illegal detentions and aggravated torments when they gave information to security agents for their kidnapping and torture after the 1976 military coup. (AP Photo / Gustavo Garello)
An Argentine court on Dec. 11 sentenced two former Ford Motor Co. executives to prison for helping agents of the country’s former dictatorship round up 24 Argentine union workers who were tortured and held in military jails.
The court said that factory manufacturing director Pedro Muller and security manager Hector Francisco Sibilla targeted workers and gave information to security agents for their kidnapping and torture after the 1976 military coup.
Muller was sentenced to 10 years and Sibilla to 12 years.
The men, all in their 80s or 90s, deny wrongdoing and can appeal.
Prosecutors had accused the men of giving names, ID numbers, pictures and home addresses to security forces who hauled the workers off the floor of Ford’s factory in suburban Buenos Aires to be tortured and interrogated and then sent to military prisons.
The trial that began last year is part of a series of prosecutions focused on corporate support for the brutal military dictatorship of 1976-1983, when about 30,000 people were killed or disappeared.
About 5,000 workers were employed at the time by the Ford factory in suburban General Pacheco.
“Ford Argentina is not a party to the case,” the company said in a statement to The Associated Press.
Victims’ lawyers have suggested they may sue Ford in U.S. federal court.
“It is clear that Ford Motor Company had control of the Argentinian subsidiary during the ‘70s. Therefore, there is a direct responsibility of Ford Motor Company,” one of the lawyers, Tomas Ojea Quintana, told Reuters.