Message from Julio Alberto Poch (December 2015)

Message from Julio Alberto Poch

Marcos Paz, Buenos Aires, Friday, December 11th, 2015.

Dear friends, colleagues and visitors of the FJJP site,

Since my last message in August there have been quite a few developments which I would like to share with you. The most recent and important one is the change of government in Argentina. As many of you already know, since yesterday Mauricio Macri is the new president. Now he intends to lead a center-right government that will try to unify the country and return Argentina to the world stage. He has chosen an interesting cabinet of ministers that lets us believe in a better future for our thrashed country. Macri has assumed the commitment of reducing poverty, fighting drug trafficking and corruption. And just as important: he promised an independent justice system! I know this may sound strange to citizens of countries like The Netherlands, but an independent justice has not existed in Argentina for the last 12 years. And if he succeeds it will have direct bearing on the end result, not only of this ESMA trial, but also of many other trials all over the country.

As I told you in August, the prosecution’s statement commenced in the month of July. In September came the part referring to my case. The arguments used to accuse me were completely false, full of lies, errors and lack of logic. The Argentinean State´s ridiculous (but dangerous) statement showed that the prosecution was not seeking truth or justice. The explanation of my lawyer is that since this is a political trial, prosecutor Soiza Reilly -who by now knows that I was not involved- needs to try to turn all the facts around with the clear intention of framing me. There was a total lack of judicial seriousness in the accusation. It actually made me feel both very sad and very angry. The fact that the prosecution applied the same crazy logic to most of the accused didn´t make me feel any better.

After seeing what the prosecution’s intentions were, I had to expect the worst. But that does not make it any less terrible or unbelievable. So finally this past week the prosecution ended its statement with the petition of punishment for each of the remaining 56 defendants. The result was 52 petitions of “life in prison” (including mine), two petitions of “25 years”, one of “18 years” and one of “10 years”. This last case is the one regarding former Secretary of Finance Juan Alemann who allegedly entered the ESMA to visit a detained person.

How did we get to this point from an innocent after-dinner conversation with colleagues? It’s completely crazy. And of course without any proof or evidence against me. I never committed any crime or anything illegal in my life. Now there will be a summer recess and the trial will resume on Monday February 1st. It will be the turn of the 6 plaintiff groups. Then the defense lawyers should be able to start their defense statements in April or May. The sentencing could take place around the second half of 2016.

I hope that what I stated in my previous message comes true: an improvement in the justice system with less pressure on the judges. Then the Tribunal will be able to decide our fate based on the actual opinions of the three judges Daniel Obligado, Leopoldo Bruglia and Adriana Paliotti. In the meantime we expect some changes such as the elimination of these illegally long pre-trail detention times.

Once again thank you for all your forms of support. Thanks to your donations, letters, cards and visits, we can continue this unfair struggle to regain my freedom. An old joke we share with my sister Patricia is that we need to “Free Willy” meaning FREE JULIO!
I wish you all a very healthy and loving Holiday Season together with your families. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers!