Spain to extradite 'dirty war' pilot to Argentina

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A Spanish court has agreed to extradite a pilot held for his alleged role in Argentina's "dirty war".

Julio Alberto Poch, 57, an airline pilot, has been in custody in Madrid since his arrest last month.

He is wanted in Argentina for allegedly flying planes used to dump opponents of the military regime into the sea - known as "death flights".

Some 30,000 people disappeared or died during the junta's 1976-1983 rule. He denies the allegations.

Mr Poch was held during a short stopover at Valencia's Manises airport on 22 September, while flying an aircraft for Dutch Transavia airlines, a subsidiary of Air France-KLM.

The court said in its ruling there were sufficient guarantees to ensure that Mr Poch would have a fair trial in Argentina.

In October last year, a judge rejected a request by Mr Poch's lawyer to secure his release.

He argued that his client denied ever having been based at the Naval Mechanics School.

In 2005, Argentina's Supreme Court struck down amnesty laws which had shielded alleged human rights abusers from prosecution.

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