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Former Ford Argentina execs convicted in 1970s torture case

by Justin King

The executives were accused of involvement in the kidnapping of two dozen workers when the company was ruled by a military dictatorship.

Two former executives from Ford's Argentina division have been convicted of crimes against humanity during the country's military dictatorship in the 1970s.

Pedro Muller and Hector Sibilla have been sentenced to at least a decade in prison for supplying photos, home addresses and other information that was used by the dictatorship to kidnap two dozen workers, according to a Reuters report.

The pair allegedly permitted a detention center to be set up inside the local Buenos Aires-area Ford factory for on-site interrogation. The military is said to have used the location immediately following the military coup in 1976 to 'disappear' union activists and others.

"There they were handcuffed, beaten and had their faces covered so they could not see who was interrogating them," court documents note.

The convictions are said to be among the first examples of executives from multinational companies facing punishment for involvement in Argentina's so-called Dirty War. Secretly backed by then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, military rulers and security forces orchestrated a campaign of state terrorism that may have killed 30,000 people according to human rights advocates.