Spain jails Argentine ‘death’ pilot

An Argentine pilot for Dutch airline Transavia arrested on suspicion of running “death flights” is to remain in a Spanish prison, following a court ruling.

Spain’s National Court made the decision on Tuesday to keep former Argentine Navy Lt. Julio Alberto Poch locked, while Madrid mulls whether to extradite him to his home country.

Poch was arrested on an Argentine warrant last month in Valencia, Spain, on charges that he participated in “death flights.”

Judge Eloy Velasco ruled that Poch would not be granted provisional liberty, following a closed-door hearing that lasted about an hour in the judge’s chambers, a spokesman told CNN.

In the 1970s and ’80s, more than 1,000 drugged and blindfolded prisoners are believed to have been thrown alive out of planes during the junta’s rule.

The prisoners, including students, labor leaders, opposing intellectuals and leftists, would be condemned to the harrowing plunge to death in the Atlantic Ocean or the Rio Plata.

Poch, who has dual Argentine and Dutch nationality, has apparently made no secret of his job as a “death flight pilot” during the junta era, informing friends and colleagues.

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