Argentine military dictators on trial over baby kidnappings

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Two former Argentine military dictators have gone on trial charged with the kidnapping of babies allegedly seized from political prisoners and opponents minutes after birth.

Jorge Videla, who ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1981, and Reynaldo Bignone, the last leader of the military regime from 1982 to 1983, are accused along with six other former military figures.

Federico Delgado, federal prosecutor, called the theft of children "one of the darkest episodes in Argentina's history" as the case began in Buenos Aires.

About 500 babies were stolen from their mothers during the dictatorship, according to the campaign group Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo.

Pregnant female political dissidents were interned at secret maternity wards in centres used to torture opponents of the dictatorship.

The babies were handed to military officers or their relatives after birth while the mothers were simply killed, many of them dropped alive from military planes into the sea....

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