Dear friends and colleagues of Transavia,
Sadly today marks the 50th day of my unjust imprisonment.
Since last week we have finally been granted access to the documents containing the testimonies with the false accusations against me. Therefore, I cannot remain silent but need to expose these lies.
Understandably many of you are not familiar with the recent political history of Argentina. When the military junta of Videla took over by force in March of 1976, I was a 24 year old naval aviator flying as a fighter pilot MB-326 Aermacchi 2 seat aircraft, and from February 1977 to December 1980 as a fighter pilot on the single seat A-4Q Skyhawk, based on the aircraft carrier “ARA 25 de Mayo”(ex Karel Doorman). In February 1981 I joined our national airline Aerolineas Argentinas, where I flew as FO on B-747 and B-737, until my “detachering” with Transavia for an 8 month summer contract together with 4 other colleagues of Aerolineas Argentinas, through Parc Aviation of Ireland.
The military dictatorship ended with the democratic elections in 1983 and President Raúl Alfonsín initiated the largest trial ever to take place in Argentina. From 1984 to ’87 to bring to justice all the military who had violated human rights with their crimes. During the entire process with famous prosecutors as Strassera and Moreno Ocampo, I lived and worked in Argentina, of course totally innocent, having never participated in any of the crimes of the military junta. During 1988 I had several reasons to join Transavia and emigrate to The Netherlands with my family. In those months I was impressed with its organization and efficiency, Transavia was a small airline but growing, thus a faster promotion to Captain, a much better salary and pension and an excellent opportunity to live in an European country with a strong and stable economy which offered a better future for us and our 3 children.
In 1995 we obtained our Dutch citizenship but also retained our citizenship of Argentina because, as mentioned before, I had never committed or been accused of any crime. Since 1988 I have flown regularly back to Buenos Aires to visit my family and friends in Argentina and of course I have followed closely the ups and downs of the economy and changing political situation in my country.
Returning to the present, I sincerely believe that during that after dinner informal conversation in Bali 2003, some colleagues could have misunderstood my explanation of what happened during the military dictatorship as trying to “justify” it, their judgement impaired by alcohol and the emotions that run high when talking about the violation of human rights. However when reading the testimonies where they deliberately change my words in to a false “confession” outrageously placing me at the controls of transport aircraft that I never have flown, suspected of the inhuman “death flights”, I can only conclude that at least one of them used this as an intentional act of vengeance because his resentment against me! Perhaps only with the intention of discrediting me within Transavia initially and not meaning to take these false accusations this far. All this could have been cleared after our return from Bali, but then years later an FO, who refers to himself as my “chef”, initiates his own crusade to incriminate me, proceeding cowardly behind my back, without once considering if it was true or confronting me directly.
Unfortunately, after receiving these accusations, the Dutch justice authorities, under great political pressure, failed to notify or interrogate me, violating my rights as a Dutch citizen and depriving me of a chance to defend myself. Instead, they orquestrated together with the Argentinean and Spanish authorities my “capture” in Valencia during my last flight for Transavia, already presenting me as guilty to the world for maximum publicity and media effect, without the minimum care for the disruption of our airline’s operation, or for my family, crew and passengers.
Therefore I appeal to my colleagues to have the courage to come forward and admit the truth, not only to those present in Bali, but also to those who over the years know I have openly criticized the military dictatorship and inhuman methods used. I appreciate the help and support of those who have already done so. The justice system is slow. My imprisonment has put an enormous strain on our family, both emotionally and physically, as well as the economical aspect of high legal cost. Here in Spain the matter in question is my extradition to Argentina, once again I cannot defend myself, only try to obtain a fair trial in the Netherlands.
Finally, although it is difficult to expect the argentine justice to be fair, I can and will prove my innocence in Argentina. There, my records and archives of the Navy and of the trials against the military dictatorship, will show there is absolutely no proof or evidence of my participation. Then I will recover my freedom and clear my name.
Once again I wish to thank all my colleagues and friends who have contacted my family and me, expressing their shame and disgust in this miscarriage of justice. Your support through letters, messages, emails and telephone give us strength to never give up and have faith the truth and justice will prevail.
Julio Alberto Poch