Jorge Rafael Videla, Argentina’s former president, died on May 17, 2013, at the age of 87 in a jail cell where he was imprisoned.
Videla ruled between 1976 and 1981, during Argentina’s military dictatorship, a period marked by death that left thousands of people missing [es].
In 1983 the former dictator was judged and condemned to life-prison for crimes against humanity. In 2010 Videla was sentenced [es] to life in prison for the torture and shooting of 31 political prisoners, and in 2012 he was sentenced to another 50 years in jail for the kidnapping [es] of newborns during the dictatorship.
An obituary [es] by BBC World says: “He was one of the most controversial and hated men in Argentina, under his regime close to 30,000 people died or disappeared according to human rights organizations.”
In 1990, Videla was pardoned for his crimes by then-President Carlos Menem in an attempt to move the country past its painful history. However, the supreme court upheld the overturning of the pardon in 2010, and Videla was tried and convicted.
The trial of those involved in the dirty war was hailed as historic in Argentina.
“For the first time the members of a military junta are being tried by civilian courts for the crimes they committed during a dictatorship,” Ernesto Sabato, the Argentine novelist and head of the investigative commission, said at the time, The New York Times reported.
The general also survived numerous assassination attempts, including one in 1977 when a bomb exploded on a runway in Buenos Aires near a plane he was on.