federal judge Daniel Rafecas sentenced to two years in prison suspended Americo Balbuenathe former agent of the Federal Police who posed as journalist from Rodolfo Walsh News Agency for more than a decade. The same sentence was received by their chiefs of the Force Investigation Corps, Alejandro Sánchez and Alfonso Ustares. The three were found guilty of the crime of breach of duties as a public official.
The magistrate also imposed the special disqualification from holding charges for double the time of the sentencei.e. four years.
In addition to that, the judge rejected the motion for annulment of the elevation to trial that had promoted the defense of Balbuena and Sánchez. In the same sense, it ruled on a proposal of prescription by “violation of the guarantee of reasonable time” and another of recusal that had formulated the defense of Ustares.
The verdict was announced at the end of a hearing that started after 2:30 p.m. on Friday the 31st in Courtroom B of Commodore Py.
The day opened with the replies of the complaint to the defense allegations. were the lawyers Matías Aufieri, Liliana Mazea and Myriam Bregmanon behalf of the Center for Human Rights Professionals (Ceprodh), who sought to overthrow a series of claims such as that the case was prescribed, that the chain of custody of the evidence had been broken, that Balbuena had acted in good faith by not hiding his real name and that the damage was non-existent, among others.
The trial begins against a police officer who posed as a journalist to spy on social organizations
“Balbuena’s use of his real identity did not prevent him from being infiltrated until someone who knew his role revealed the truth. It would not imply an act of good faith to have used his real identity, something that could not have been otherwise because (NdR: the founder of the Walsh Agency, Rodolfo) Grinberg knew him since childhoodAufieri said.
Then it was the turn of the defense, represented by Jorge Alvarez Berlanda (for Balbuena and Sánchez) and Hernán Carluccio and Bárbara Barlett (for Ustares), who in the allegations had stated that “no crime could be proven.”
Balbuena, the main defendant, had been pointed out for having made political espionage for 11 years posing as a journalist for the aforementioned agency. This with the endorsement of their bosses Sánchez and Ustares.
They did not use the “last words”
After the round of replies, the judge granted the three defendants the opportunity to express their last words, but none of the three did.
However, during the trial, Balbuena stated: “I never used journalistic information for police purposes. At the time I had thought of practicing the activity (journalism) after my retirement from the force. I really didn’t go to anyone’s house or to private gatherings. He always worked in public places, the press conferences were in bars, on the street.”
The verdict came after four days in which they paraded a dozen witnesses proposed by the complaint -all members of social media or political, union and social organizations- who came to the same conclusion: “he was the first to arrive and the last to leave” of each measure of force or activity carried out by the organizations.
For example, Maria del Carmen Verdu, head of the Coordinator against Police Repression (Correpi), said that once Balbuena gave him a “very long” interview and that “I never saw it published.” “The funny thing is that the guy could be there every day at any time and he didn’t move. He always wanted to get internal information, such as how many people were in the organization, if there were renters, if we received subsidies and even the relationship with other organizations,” He added in his testimony in front of Rafecas.
The policeman who posed as a journalist did not testify and there was an unusual proposal for the Rafecas statement
The defense, for its part, summoned only two: Roberto Zegamemember of a Buenos Aires chamber of school transporters, already Javier Echevarriaretired from the Analysis Division of the Information Corps, to which the defendants belonged.
The first was summoned because of his relationship with Sánchez and was in charge of substantiating the defense theory that the police office had a good relationship with the political or trade union organizations that was established from the logistical planning of the measures of force. The other witness, meanwhile, provided details on the functions and tasks of the Division and said that “it is not regulated or regulated that a member of the Corps can perform a task other than that assigned by law”.
The Balbuena case
The events that are being judged occurred since Balbuena left FM The Tribe and Grinberg, with whom he had gone to school, invited him to participate in the Agency.
That was between 2002 and 2013, when the data that revealed the truth arrived: on May 5 of that year, Nilda Garreformer Minister of Security, announced the start of a summary investigation and made Balbuena available.
Marcelo Saín declared against the policeman who posed as a journalist: “He was infiltrated to do intelligence”
Ustares and Sánchez, meanwhile, were accused of having “ordered and/or promoted, formally or informally, in their capacity as Head of the Analysis Division of the State and Security Department of the Federal Police (…) that Balbuena , in his capacity as intelligence officer of the aforementioned unit and hiding information“Develop espionage tasks in the news agency.
“It was a 10-year fight where we presented evidence to reach this result.to demonstrate that there are intelligence agencies that carry out political espionage and are not self-employed,” said Bregman, national representative and lawyer for the lawsuit, at the end of the hearing.
“Everything we denounced we accredited in the trial, including the magnitude that accounts for the institutional role with the sentences of the two heads of Balbuena”, added Aufieri to PROFILE.
Los fundamentals of the condemnation They will meet on April 5 at 2:00 p.m.
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