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Ex-Argentina dictator convicted of crimes against humanity dies at 90

By Ray Downs
Ex-Argentina dictator convicted of crimes against humanity dies at 90
Former Argentinean dictator Reynaldo Bignone attends a court hearing in Buenos Aires on August 23, 2012. Bignone, who was found guilty of crimes against humanity in 2010, died Wednesday at the age of 90. File Photo by Leo La Valle/EPA

March 7 (UPI) -- Former Argentina President Gen. Reynaldo Bignone died in a military hospital where he was serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity, officials announced Wednesday. He was 90.

Bignone ruled Argentina and lead the military junta during the last year of the Dirty War against the country's left wing opposition that killed an estimated 30,000 people between 1976 and 1983.

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In addition to kidnapping and torturing left-wing opposition members, including trade unionists, Bignone ordered the babies of opposition members to be kidnapped and given to supporters of the regime.

Although Bignone stepped down as president in 1983 after centrist Raúl Alfonsín was elected, he wasn't charged with any crimes until 2007. At that time, he was placed under house arrest pending his trial and was convicted of crimes against humanity in 2010.

Officially, he was found guilty in the kidnappings and torture of 30 factory workers, the abductions of 34 babies and the deaths 56 people.

Bignone was sentenced to life in prison. He defended his actions by saying he was fighting "a battle against terrorism."

In 2016, Bignone found himself on trial again for "Operation Condor," a U.S.-backed program during the military junta's rule to hunt and kill left-wing opposition members when they fled to other countries.

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He was sentenced to an additional 20 years for his role in the program.

Bignone's cause of death was not immediately released.

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