Former Argentine dictator jailed

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Former Argentine dictator Jorge Videla has been jailed for torture and murder. (AP)

Former Argentine dictator Jorge Videla has been sentenced to life in prison for the torture and murder of 31 prisoners in 1976.

It is the first conviction for the military junta leader in 25 years of democracy in the country.

Videla, who led the military coup that installed Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship, was considered the architect of a dirty war that eliminated 13,000 people in a crackdown on armed leftist guerrillas and their supporters, according to an official count.

The 31 prisoners were pulled from civilian jail cells and “shot while trying to escape” as the military consolidated its power in the months after the coup.

Videla claimed Argentine society demanded the crackdown to prevent a Marxist revolution, and complained that “terrorists” now run the country.

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