Uruguayan Voters Reject Chance to Prosecute Dictators

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Montevideo, Uruguay - During Uruguay's last dictatorship, which ruled from 1973 to 1985, approximately 200 Uruguayans were forcibly disappeared. Thousands more were held as political prisoners and tortured. In this small country of 3.5 million people, hundreds of thousands fled into exile.

Last Sunday, October 25, voters here had the chance to repeal a controversial amnesty law, which has shielded many officials from prosecution for these crimes. The measure failed, garnering only 48 percent support.

The law, known as the "ley de caducidad," was passed in 1986, after pressure from military officers who refused to appear in court when cited in connection with the dictatorship's crimes. Uruguay's young civilian government quelled military resistance by passing the law.

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