Clemente Hurban and Juana Rodríguez, the adoptive parents of Grandmother of the Plaza de Mayo Estela de Carlotto’s grandson, Ignacio Montoya Carlotto, have been indicted in an Argentine federal court and charged with “ideological falsification” and “altering the civil status” of a minor. The doctor who signed the apocryphal birth certificate has also been charged.
Federal judge Marcelo Martínez de Giorgi issued the accused – the couple that pretended for years to be Ignacio Montoya Carlotto’s biological parents, along with the doctor – with a pre-emptive prison sentence, which will only come into effect once there is a firm verdict. A sum of 20 thousand pesos has also been seized from each of the defendants.
Ignacio Montoya Carlotto – who grew up as Ignacio Hurban – was born in a detention center after Estela de Carlotto’s daughter, Laura, was abducted by the operatives from the military dictatorship in 1977. Although Laura’s body was eventually returned to her mother, the child was never found, which prompted his grandmother’s decades-long quest to find him. In 2014, thanks to Ignacio’s own doubts about his background and DNA testing, he finally returned to his biological family.
Carlotto’s grandson was one of almost 500 babies seized by the dictatorship between 1976 and 1983 that were later issued secretly to adoptive families. So far, the association of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo has helped recover 121 of those babies – now adults – who had grown up unaware of their true identity.
During his ruling, Judge Martínez de Giorgi stated: “It has been established, with the degree of conviction required at this stage of the proceedings, that on 28th June, 1978, the defendants Clemente Hurban and Juana Rodríguez inserted false information into the birth certificate of Ignacio Hurban – in reality, Ignacio Montoya Carlotto – regarding his filiation.”
“Regardless of the explanations and or advice that they may or may not have received concerning the adoption, the fact is that the conduct exhibited by both Hurban and Rodríguez began with, and is now made evident by, their use of false information about filiation when registering the birth before a public body and the subsequent issuance of a national identity document,” continued the judge.
Meanwhile, vis-à-vis Dr Sacher, who worked for police in Olavarria at the time, the judge’s ruling stated that “his participation is corroborated” by reports collected in research.
While the indictment of three people involved in one of the hundreds of abductions during the dictatorship will come as a sign of justice for many around the country, cases like this inevitably involve a great deal of emotion for implicated individuals. Ignacio Montoya Carlotto, who spent nearly 40 years believing that the defendants were his real parents, has not received the judge’s decision well.
Reacting to the ruling, the grandson of the Grandmother of the Plaza de Mayo bigwig told Radio Con Vos: “I’m living with a lot of pain but it’s something that has to happen, no one has the right to evade justice.” He also questioned why the news had been published two days before 24th March, Argentina’s Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice that commemorates the victims of the Dirty War.
Regarding his relationship with the Hurban-Rodriguez couple, he said: “I grew up knowing nothing about this. I always believed I was their biological child and it was okay like that. We’ve kept in contact. We live close by. I feel like they are my parents and I treat them as such.”
“I don’t know what’s going to happen if they get arrested. It would be terrible and devastating. I am fully convinced that they should be free. I don’t know if the judge will take my point of view into account,” Montoya concluded.