Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Former Uruguayan Dictator Sentenced



A court in Uruguay today sentenced former dictator Juan María Bordaberry to 30 years in prison on charges of “unconstitutional behavior,” “forced disappearance” and “political homicide.” Lower court judge Mariana Motta’s sentence means that Mr. Bordaberry, who has spent the last few years under house arrest for related crimes, will likely be headed back to jail.

Mr. Bordaberry was first elected democratically in 1971, but in June 1973 dissolved the government and staged a coup that placed him in charge of a regime supported by the armed forces. The military removed him from power in 1976—earlier than he would have left office under his original mandate. Bordaberry is the second Uruguayan dictator to be sentenced in the last four months.

The prosecutor in the case, Hebe Martínez Burlé made clear that the 81-year-old former dictator, who now faces the prospect of spending his final years behind bars, can appeal the case “because he has legal guarantees that never existed when he was in power.” However, rumors that Bordaberry spent much of his house arrest sentence on beach vacations may bolster the case for prison time.

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