December 8, 2005

Argentine rights leader buried in Buenos Aires

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (Reuters) - The founder of
Argentina's leading human rights group was laid to rest on
Thursday, 28 years after she was abducted during the country's
military dictatorship.

Family and friends buried the ashes of Azucena Villaflor on
a prominent Buenos Aires plaza that for many Argentines has
come to symbolize the fight for justice by the Mothers of the
Plaza de Mayo.

The group of mothers, often seen wearing white
handkerchiefs, have pressed for a full accounting of their sons
and daughters who went missing during Argentina's 1976-83
military dictatorship known as the "Dirty War."

"Azucena rest in peace, this is your place," said Marta
Vazquez, one of the mothers.

Villaflor was kidnapped by state security agents in
December 1977 and later held at a military detention center
before she disappeared. Forensic experts identified Villaflor's
remains in July after they were unearthed in a cemetery on the
outskirts of the Argentine capital.

Villaflor's disappearance helped galvanize other mothers
who were trying to locate their children during the military's
crackdown on dissent, spurring weekly marches on the Plaza de
Mayo in downtown Buenos Aires that continue today.

A government report has said some 12,000 people were
kidnapped, tortured, and killed during military rule. Human
rights groups put the number at 30,000.