Center For Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
Case 2271 (ARGENTINA)
"Mrs. Nélida Azucena Sosa de Forti an Argentine citizen, C.I. 9.728.076 P.F., was detained on February 18, 1977 in the international airport of Ezeiza.
On the day indicated, Mrs. de Forti and her five children, 'arrived at the airport ... at approximately 7:34 a.m., went through all the pre-embarkation procedures such as emigration and her many suitcases with no problem, and boarded flight No. 284 Aerolineas Argentinas, to Venezuela leaving at 9:00'.
They had all the necessary documents, including parental consent, and the visa which had been officially communicated to the Venezuelan Consulate in Buenos Aires on February 14, 1977 in official telegram No. 003410.
Once they were settled in their seats on the plane, at approximately 8:45 ... the announcement was made that Alfredo Forti (her 16-year old son) was asked to come to the cabin. The son went forward and was received by the Captain, the emigrations official that had dealt with him a few moments earlier in the airport, the flight attendant and one more uniformed person.
The pilot asked him about his father and he explained that his father was in Venezuela awaiting the arrival of the family. The pilot then asked him to call his mother and the son returned with her. The pilot explained to the mother that she would not be able to travel because 'there was a problem with the documentation'.
The pilot told them 'that he would proceed to disembark them with their baggage. This was done and they were taken back into the same bus that had taken them to the plane along with the other passengers. A group of individuals, who were in civilian clothes, although armed, were waiting for them in the bus. They were taken to the public vehicle entrance and transferred to two sedan cars.'
On an abandoned road the six were taken out of the cars and their eyes blindfolded. They then were taken to a kind of prison establishment, where they remained for seven days. At no time was any reason given for their incarceration, or was any authorization shown.
On the seventh day, the children were taken from their mother and abandoned in the city of Buenos Aires, close to a house that they knew. As on the previous occasion, they were blindfolded. Before they were left, the person whom the others treated as their leader informed them that their mother would be taken to Tucumán and that she would be reunited with them in a week.
No further news has been received of the mother's whereabouts since that time, nor of the reason for her detention, the causes behind it, nor of the authorities that ordered it and that still deprive her of her freedom. All the efforts of Cáritas en Venezuela and of the Venezuelan Embassy in Buenos Aires to ascertain her whereabouts have been fruitless.
However, an arrangement was made through the Embassy of Venezuela to transfer the children to Venezuela where they are now with their father, a surgeon, who is in the service of the Government of Venezuela."
"There is no doubt at all that Nélida Sosa de Forti was detained by official security agencies, because they had to pass through at least five military control points in order to get to the airport, and some more within Ezeiza airport before reaching the plane; a uniformed armed official made them leave the plane in the presence of Captain Gómez Villafañe, to whom it is assumed he identified himself. Moreover, the international airport of Ezeiza is under military control and the captain of a plane cannot be uninvolved in such an operation.
Also on the airplane was Mr. Juan Galli Coll, a senior official of the Ministry of the Treasury of Venezuela, who is ready to testify that he was a witness to the occurrence. Mr. Daniel Mazzola, an Argentine citizen who was on a business trip was also on board.
The uniformed, armed official told Mrs. Forti that there was warrant for her arrest from Tucumán, which is further proof that she was detained.
Another point that should be taken into account is the fact that when the children were brought by a Venezuelan priest, who made the trip for this purpose, they were under Federal Police escort and despite the fact that they identified themselves, entry was not easy, which proves that, in fact, only officials of the Armed Forces or Federal Police could have detained her."
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"D. Persons on whom there are no records of detention and who are subject of a police search conducted by the Ministry of the Interior.
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139. Sosa de Forti, Nélida Azucena."
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
(Approved at the 605 meeting, November 18, 1978 (45th Session), and forwarded to the Government).