Judge Orders DNA Tests for Argentine Media Magnate Adoptees

Posted June 2nd, 2011 at 7:25 pm (UTC-5)
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An Argentine court has ordered the adopted children of one of Latin America's most powerful newspaper publishers to submit to a DNA test to determine if they were stolen as babies during Argentina's so-called “dirty war.”

The court ruled Thursday the two children of Ernestina Herrera de Noble, who are now in their 30s, must allow their genetic information to be compared to a bank of samples from the families of people who “disappeared” or were killed during Argentina's 1976-1983 military dictatorship.

The court, however, stipulated the siblings' genetic samples should only be compared with data from people who disappeared before the dates on their adoption papers, which say they were born in 1976.

The siblings, Marcela and Felipe, have strongly defended their mother, and have resisted the testing.

Meanwhile, human rights activists who have fought for the testing were angered at the limited scope, saying the siblings' DNA should be compared to the entire database of people looking for lost family members.

Appeals from both sides are likely.

At least 400 newborns were taken from their parents and given to families allied with the ruling military junta during the dictatorship.

Official estimates say some 13-thousand people died or disappeared during the dirty war, but human rights groups say some 30-thousand people disappeared or were killed in a crackdown on leftist dissidents.

In 2005, Argentina's Supreme Court overturned amnesty laws protecting military and police officials from prosecution for human rights abuses during the dictatorship.