Berlin police search home of suspect accused of dictatorship-era crimes in Argentina

Prosecutors in Germany confirm police have raided the home of Luis Esteban Kyburg, a 75-year-old accused of crimes against humanity dating back to Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship.

Buenos Aires Times

Prosecutors in Germany have confirmed that the home of a suspect accused of crimes against humanity in Argentina is being searched by police.

A statement from the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office said that federal police officers had raided the home of Luis Esteban Kyburg, a 75-year-old Argentine-German accused of crimes including torture during Argentina’s military dictatorship (1976-1983) and are looking for evidence that may tie him to allegations levelled at him in the court.

Investigators from the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office searched Kyburg’s home in Prenzlauer Berg, a neighbourhood in the former East Berlin where many foreigners now live.

The suspect, who holds Argentine and German passport, is accused of the abduction, torture and murder of at least 15 people between early 1976 and 1977. At that time, Kyburg was second-in-command of an elite unit of divers at a naval base in Argentina. 

The Navy unit, called the „Agrupación Buzos Tácticos“ (“Tactical Divers Group”), was involved in the feared death squads that executed opponents and critics of the regime.

„The purpose of today’s search of the accused’s living quarters was to find documents, records and data that would shed light on the role of the accused in connection with the ‘disappearances’ of opposition members and their alleged killing,“ the statement from the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office read.

Kyburg has been the subject of an international arrest warrant for years and is the subject of investigations in both Germany and Argentina, it added. He stands accused of being complicit in the kidnapping, torture and murder of more than 150 people.

Buenos Aires issued an extradition request in 2015, two years after Kyburg moved to Germany, but his second nationality has complicated proceedings. Germany does not extradite its own citizens.

Human rights organisations in Argentina estimate that as many as 30,000 people were disappeared by the military junta during the era of state terrorism.

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