An Argentine-born pilot for a low-cost airline was arrested during a stopover in a Spanish airport on suspicion of piloting planes that carried hundreds of dissidents to their deaths during his country's 1976-1983 "dirty war," authorities said Wednesday.
Julio Alberto Poch, a former Argentine navy lieutenant with Dutch nationality, is wanted in his native country on suspicion of piloting "death flights," during which drugged prisoners were thrown from airplanes and helicopters into the Atlantic Sea and Argentine rivers, Dutch foreign ministry spokesman Herbert Brinkman said.
He is wanted for questioning in four probes of more than 1,000 deaths during his time as a pilot at the Navy Mechanics School, a notorious torture center in Buenos Aires, Spanish police said.
Spanish police said Poch was arrested Tuesday night after touching down at Valencia airport on a flight from the Netherlands. Police said they detained him during a 40-minute stopover before he was due to fly back Amsterdam.