Argentine Heirs’ DNA Tests Come Back Negative

Posted July 11th, 2011 at 6:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Legal sources in Argentina say DNA taken from the adopted children of one of the country's richest women does not match blood samples from two families who suspect the siblings were stolen as babies during the country's so-called “dirty war.”

The results come more than a month after a court ordered Felipe and Marcela Noble Herrera to undergo the testing. The siblings, who are now in their 30s, are the adopted children of Ernestina Herrera de Noble, one of Latin America's most powerful newspaper publishers. She owns Argentina's Grupo Clarin media empire.

The court ordered the siblings to allow their genetic information to be compared to a bank of samples from the families of people who “disappeared” or were killed during the 1976-to-1983 military dictatorship. However, the court stipulated that the siblings' genetic samples should only be compared to data from people who disappeared before the dates on their adoption papers, which say they were born in 1976.

Human rights activists who fought for the testing said the siblings' DNA should be compared to the entire database of people looking for lost family members.

The siblings have strongly defended their mother and accused the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of “persecution.”

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 13,000 people died or disappeared during the dirty war, but human rights groups say 30,000 people disappeared or were killed in a crackdown on leftist dissidents. To date, 102 people born to vanished dissidents have recovered their true identities.

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