Monday, July 9, 2007

Baby snatched from mother finds family after 29 years

A baby girl who had been snatched by authorities from the arms of her mother, a political prisoner held by Argentina’s then-military regime, has been identified 29 years later, rights group “The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo” announced last week.

The woman, Belen, is the daughter of Rosa Lujan Taranto and Horacio Antonio Altamiranda, who were kidnapped in May 1977 from their home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Rosa Lujan, who was seven months pregnant, was taken to the El Vesubio detention centre with her husband. Survivors say Lujan was taken to the Campo de Mayo Military Hospital in the capital, where she delivered her baby by Cesarean at eight months pregnant. After delivering her baby, Rosa was returned to the detention centre and killed; before she died she told other detainees she had not seen her baby and did not even know the sex of her child.

Rosa’s mother-in-law Irma Rojas brought her case to “The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo” in April 1982.

The case is the 88th the group has helped solve. Investigators were able to establish that Belen was given up for adoption at three months of age by the Christian Family Movement. She had always known she was adopted and in 2005 contacted the Grandmothers, suspecting her identity might have something to do with families torn apart by political violence.

In the beginning of this month, genetic testing proved with a 99.99 percent level of accuracy that Belen was part of the Altamiranda Taranto family.

About 30,000 people – including leftists, leftist sympathizers and those merely suspected of sympathizing – were abducted, or abducted and killed, during Argentina’s last military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.