EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 13/07/97
UA 325/97 Fear for safety 17 October 1997
ARGENTINAMario Humberto Gómez Yardez
Gloria Alvarez (f)
Natalia Gómez (f), aged 5, daughter of above
There is grave concern for the safety of Mario Humberto Gómez Yardez and his
family who have reportedly received death threats. Amnesty International
believes this is as a result of legal proceedings he has initiated against
members of the Mendoza police force for subjecting him to torture.
Mario Humberto Gómez Yardez, a Chilean, was arbitrarily detained in 1990 by
provincial police in the locality of Lavalle, Mendoza Province. He was tortured
and served a year in prison. He was subsequently released without charge.
On 14 October 1997, Mario Humberto Gómez Yardez received an anonymous phone
call from a man who warned him of the following if he failed to halt his legal
action: "Te advertimos lo que te iba a pasar y no nos hiciste caso, bancate
lo que se pueda llegar a venir con vos y tu familia", "We warned you what was
going to happen to you, and you didn't take any notice, bank on what might
happen to you and your family"
On another occasion, on 10 October 1997, Mario Humberto Gómez Yardez was visited
by an unidentified man in an unmarked car whilst at home with his common-law-wife
(pareja) and daughter, who threatened him thus: “Acepta el trato que has hecho
con los abogados, y si no, ya sabes lo que te va a venir", "Accept the deal
you have made with the lawyers, if you don't, you already know what is going
to happen to you".
On 15 October, Mario Humberto Gómez Yardez filed an official complaint before
the Provincial Attorney (Fiscal Correccional). On 20 October legal proceedings
against those police officers responsible for the torture will commence.
Since the return of a civilian government in Argentina, Amnesty International
has received reports of human rights violations committed by members of the
provincial police in Mendoza Province. In three cases registered between 1990
and 1992 individuals arrested by the police have "disappeared" and a number
of cases of ill-treatment and torture have been reported.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
Spanish or your own language:
- recognizing the trial of those who allegedly tortured Mario Humberto Gómez
Yardez as a positive development;
- expressing concern at the threats made against Mario Humberto Gómez Yardez,
Gloria Alvarez and Natalia Gómez;
- seeking assurances that during the trial the authorities take effective
measures to guarantee the safety of Mario Humberto Gómez Yardez and his family
and that the family, lawyers and witnesses be allowed to perform their role
without fear or intimidation;
- calling for a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the campaign
of threats against Mario Humberto Gómez Yardez and his family;
- urging that those responsible be brought to justice.