San Jose Peace & Justice Center

In July of 1976 Patricia Isasa was a high school student in Santa Fe, Argentina, when she was abducted by a commando group of the provincial police and "disappeared" for three months. She was then taken to a military barracks, tortured and held prisoner without trial or due process for two years and two months. During two speaking events in San Jose, Patricia will update us on the status of her legal case and show clips from a film in which she revisits the site of her incarceration.

Friday, March 13, 6:30 pm at the Peace & Justice Center, 48 S. 7th St., San Jose sponsored by Women's International League for Peace & Freedom 

For more than 30 years Patricia Isasa has been a human rights worker, at home in Argentina and abroad. Her first testimony was to the International Red Cross, in 1977, when she was 16 and in illegal detention, following her kidnap and disappearance in Santa Fé. At the clandestine camp "La Cuarta" she was tortured, and then moved to a police ase where she was held until her release in September 1978. In July 1979 she was again detained, on suspicion of having been involved in a bombing. The men who picked her up admitted while they were torturing her that they themselves had placed the bomb. Of the 30 prisoners where she was held, 10 were executed the first day, 10 more the next day. On day 3, the OAS Human Rights Commission cancelled its July hearings in Argentina, and the prisoners were let out. That year she began gathering evidence of kidnappings, tortures, and disappearances in the city of Santa Fe. Among her repressors was Domingo Marcellini, US-trained Chief of Intelligence. Like Marcellini, the Argentine dictators Viola and Galtieri were graduates of the School of the Americas (SOA).

In 1997 Patricia began a systematic search for the people responsible for her repression, having waited more than a decade for impunty to be rescinded. This led to Marcellini and 8 other powerful, influential individuals being arrested in 2005, awaiting trial in Santa Fe, with accusations of Genocide, Disappearances, and Torture. In 1998 she filed declarations with Judge Garzón in Madrid, and then traveled to London to work on Pinochet's detention, collaborating in the effort to extradite him to Spain for crimes committed in Argentina and Chile.

A documentary film, "El Cerco" shows her returning to the concentration camps where she was held. Shown on TV in Argentina, it was watched by three million people. Clips from the film can be seen on the interview of Patricia by Amy Goodman: (Go to the archive and search Isasa). Her case against nine killers and torturers is still pending, scheduled originally for 2006. When the date drew near, the judge received a veiled but ghoulish threat: a coffin containing a dessicated human corpse. Witnesses in other cases have been disappeared and murdered. Provided with 24-hour guards, Patricia continues to pursue her case, now expected to go forward in 2009.

Patricia has spoken at universities, the School of Americas Watch Vigil, churches, schools, symposia, and rallies in the U.S.


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