Derechos Denounces Argentine Newspaper Attack on Equipo Nizkor

April 17, 1997

Contact: Margarita Lacabe
(510) 528-7794

Derechos Human Rights

Press Release

Derechos Human Rights today denounced the Argentine newspaper Pagina 12 for
repeating unsubstantiated allegations against a well-known human rights
organization and advocate.

In its edition of Thursday, April 17, Pagina 12 repeated allegations that
were published in the Spanish magazine Tiempo on April 7.  The article,
published under a pseudonym, alleged that Gregorio Dionis of Nizkor was
collaborating with Argentine secret agents to confuse Spanish judge Baltasar
Garzon in the trial of members of the Argentine military for the torture,
murders, and disappearances of Spanish citizens during the military
dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.

In the article, Mr. Dionis is described as a phantom figure feeding false
information to Judge Garzon.  In fact, Mr. Dionis is a devoted proponent of
human rights and has worked vigorously against the impunity enjoyed by many
Latin American militaries.  He has worked with and earned the respect of
Argentine human rights groups such as the Peace and Justice Service, the
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Linea Fundadora), Families of the Detained and
Disappeared, and H.I.J.O.S. to promote human rights in Argentina.  All the
information Mr. Dionis and Equipo Nizkor have provided the investigating
judge, was in fact previously checked by these organizations for accuracy.

According to Michael Katz-Lacabe, Executive Director of Derechos, "In the
time that we have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Dionis, he has always
been an energetic and untiring advocate for human rights.  These
unsubstantiated allegations against Mr. Dionis indicate that his advocacy
for human rights and justice have struck a nerve.  The baseless accusations
against Mr. Dionis are reminiscent of the techniques used by the Argentine
dictatorship to discredit its opponents and hide its shameful human rights

The Pagina 12 article repeated the assertion that the Spanish leftist party
Izquierda Unida had refused to work with Mr. Dionis.  However, Isabelo
Herreros, the Secretary of Human Rights and Liberties for Izquierda Unida,
in a letter to Tiempo, denied that assertion and others made in the original
Tiempo article. 

The baseless accusations repeated by Pagina 12 could easily have been
corrected if proper journalism techniques or even the most cursory
investigation had been performed.  While the misspelling of Nizkor as
"Nizcor" can be excused as a typo, Pagina 12 (and Tiempo) failed to contact
any of the individuals mentioned in the article.  Instead, unsubstantiated
allegations were published as if they were fact. 

Derechos Human Rights encourages Pagina 12 to conduct even a cursory
investigation of the reported matters before printing stories that purport
to injure esteemed human rights workers and contribute to the impunity of
human rights violators

Equipo Nizkor Website

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