On the night of September 24, 2016, the 15-year-old Ezequiel Villanueva Moya from Argentina was detained by police in one of the largest shanty towns in Buenos Aires, 21-24. When Iván Navarro, 18, approached to find out what was happening, he was also arrested.
The two teenagers were then handcuffed, tortured and threatened with death in an open field on the banks of the Riachuelo, the most polluted river in Argentina. Almost two years later, a court sentenced six police officers to eight to ten years’ imprisonment for the torture inflicted on the two young men that night, in the first sentence for this crime for acts committed under the management of Mauricio Macri. it puts institutional violence on the poor young people on the table again.
The convicts were Leandro Adolfo Antúnez, Orlando Ariel Benítez and Osvaldo Alberto Ertel to 10 years and six months in prison and Eduardo Sandoval, Ramón Falcón and Yamil Marsilli to 8 years and 11 months. In all cases they were convicted for the crimes of torture, illegitimate deprivation of liberty, minor injuries and aggravated and qualified robbery.
When the sentence was heard, dozens of relatives, friends and neighbors of Navarro and Villanueva Moya burst into applause in the street and demanded the resignation of the Security Minister, Patricia Bullrich, whom they accuse of validating the repressive practices of the police in the poorest neighborhoods in the city . “We celebrate this milestone in the fight against impunity in a context of increasing harassment of the popular sectors,” said the plaintiff attorney, Gabriela Carpinetti, at the gates of the Palace of Justice.
“The court said that what the children had denounced had happened, that they had actually been tortured, taken to the edge of the Riachuelo and that they threatened to shoot them,” said the director of the Justice and Security Area of the Center for Legal Studies and Social Sciences (CELS), Paula Litvachky. According to Navarro’s account in front of the court, the prefects hit him in the back, in the face, kicked him when he was on the ground, one put a knife in his throat and another threatened him with his regulation weapon. “He told me ‘put my gun in my mouth’ and he put it in my mouth,” Navarro said.
CELS, one of the most recognized human rights organizations in Argentina, denounces that the police harass and humiliate assiduously young people from the southern neighborhoods of the city, the poorest, and in some cases reach extreme situations, such as torture inflicted on Navarro and Villanueva Moya.
“Most of these events go unpunished because they are not known or denounced, but in this case something different happened, thanks to the presence of an organization such as La Poderosa with the ability to make the event visible and to judicial officials who were taken from the first moment. seriously what the young people told and the multiple evidences that pointed to the veracity of their testimonies, “the CELS said in a statement. Even so, the ruling is not firm and can be appealed.
Visibly moved, Navarro and his family joined the celebration in front of the Palace of Justice. “They were told they were black shit and no one was going to complain, today we saw that we are going to demand them, never again a tortured kid,” said Graciela, her grandmother.
“Today, while the last day of the trial was taking place, the relatives of Ezequiel Demonty paid tribute to his memory on the banks of the Riachuelo because they celebrated the 16th anniversary of the day when Federal policemen took three young people to that place, They tortured them and forced them to jump in. Demonty, who was 19 years old, could not get out of the water and died, “said CELS.