July 6, 2012 - 14:20 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Two former leaders during Argentina's military rule have been found guilty of overseeing the systematic theft of babies from political prisoners, BBC News said.
A court in Buenos Aires sentenced Jorge Videla to 50 years in prison and Reynaldo Bignone to 15 years. They are already serving lengthy jail sentences for crimes committed under military rule, between 1976 and 1983.
At least 400 babies are thought to have been taken from their parents while they were held in detention centres.
The verdict is the culmination of a trial that began in February 2011.
In total, 11 people, most of them former military and police officials, were facing charges. Nine, including Videla and Bignone, were convicted in the case over the theft of 34 babies. Two were found not guilty.
Videla, 86, received the maximum sentence as he was held criminally responsible for 20 of the thefts. The court said Videla was guilty of the "systematic abduction, detention and hiding of minors under the age of 10".
Videla was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010 for the torture and deaths of 31 dissidents during his rule. Bignone was also given a life sentence in April 2011 for the torture and murder of political opponents.
Victims' groups nevertheless welcomed the latest verdicts as a confirmation of the defendants' guilt for what many consider as the most heinous crimes committed under military rule.
Human rights groups say that during military rule, known as the "Dirty War", some 30,000 people were killed or made to disappear by the armed forces in their campaign against opposition activists and left-wing guerrillas.