Photo via Télam/Diego Izquierdo

A Federal Criminal Court in the coastal city of Mar del Plata, in the Buenos Aires Province, convicted six members of a local neo-nazi group, after establishing the group acted as an “organized mob” at the time of planning and carrying out different attacks. Namely, spray painting threats, swastikas, messages vindicating Nazism and discriminatory slurs, as well as attacking people from the groups they targeted.

After analyzing more than 100 pieces of evidence, the court convicted the accused for “being a group that aimed at imposing its ideals to fighting alien ones through fear or force, as well as spreading propaganda based on ideas or theories from a race, religion or ethnic group.” The group members who were tried received sentences that ranged between four and a half and nine years in prison.

Télam. Photo: Diego Izquierdo
Photo: Diego Izquierdo

One of the members was a minor when the crimes were committed, so he got two years of “tutelary treatment,” which is defined as a range of “educational measures, carefully determined at a legal level, aimed at the correction of the minor.”

The ruling strongly rebuked the arguments raised by the prosecutor, Manuel Pettigiani, who had requested low sentences and even acquittals for some of the accused. Pettigiani had argued that the accused were just a rock band that got into a street fight, and that’s why he requested sentences for which the defendants would not have had to actually go to prison.

The Prosecutor had also tried to reach an agreement with the defendants, in an attempt to get them to admit guilt and avoid going to trial. The court rejected any potential plea deal, and held a regular trial anyway.

Photo via Télam/Diego Izquierdo
Photo via Télam/Diego Izquierdo

The accused and their acquaintances present in the court room reacted violently to the ruling. According to Mar del Plata news site 0223, the girlfriend of one of the accused, Mailén Pampillón, began attacking people and kicking seats. She was forced out of the room. In contrast, the mood outside the courthouse was one of joy, as tens of activists present celebrated what they considered an exemplary ruling.

Delegación of Asociaciones Israelitas Argentina (DAIA) lawyer Alejandro Broitman made a statement along the same lines, celebrating the court’s decisions. The Jewish institution was a plaintiff in the case.