Posted by Kieran Kaal at 8:55 PM
There is an exuberant ambience at the Federal Courthouse in Buenos Aires. It is brilliant spring weather, weekend is approaching and the front pages of the local newspapers trumpet loudly that a few junta henchmen have received life sentences.
I have come to talk about Julio Poch, the alleged “killing pilot” from Zuidschermer. Two high officials are keen to clarify the case, albeit anonymously.
The Artgentinian Justice Dept is struggling with the “very complex” file, they say. More than 2 years after Poch’s arrest there is still no evidence that he flew “death flights” during the junta era (’76-’83).
Obviously, according to the duo, the macabre execution ritual naturally took place in deepest secrecy. The victims were dropped into the sea, most executioners “maintain utter silence”. It is virtually impossible to prove that Poch flew on such and such day with such and such victims on board.”
Why then are the Authorities still persisting in the indictment?
The former Transavia pilot, who denies all charges, appears to be a guinea pig. The Court is so keen on a first Argentinian conviction that it is expected that a less stringent argumention may be acceptable.
“It is rather likely he was involved” the sources say. An “important indication” is the testimony of the Transavia colleagues, who during a rather heated dinner in Bali heard Poch make dubious statements (“We threw them into the sea”).
Furthermore the indictment amply quotes from the book “El Vuelo” (the flight). In it the former Argentinian navy captain Adolfo Scilingo confesses that the complete navy was involved in the death flights. From every corner of the country turns came up. Perhaps one or two succeeded in escaping, but that would be an exception.”
It may be true that during the junta era he was a fighter pilot, but does not acquit him, the sources stated.
“From his logbooks it appears that before ’76 he also flew small planes. Also smaller planes were employed for death flights. And Poch could have been a co-pilot or crew member.”
Hmm, everrything is possible. But how can the Dutchman defend himself against such reasonings? “By producing an alibi.”
In the meantime Poch is accused of 29 disappearances (previously the number was 950) between May ’76 and February ’78). These are alleged to have taken place spread over a period of 9 months (the dates are unknown).
For the “topgun” of yester year a long period of putting an “alibi” together may prove the heaviest mission of his life in an Argentinian Court.