Connect to share and comment
Jorge Rafael Videla was serving life in prison for crimes against humanity during Argentina's 'dirty war.'
Jorge Rafael Videla, a general during Argentina's "dirty war," died in prison Friday. He was 87 years old.
Videla was serving life in prison for crimes against humanity committed while he was the head of the military junta that ruled Argentina from 1976 until 1983.
The period of dictatorship saw at least 15,000 people tortured and killed, though human rights groups cite the death toll at around 30,000.
The cause of death was not given, though some sources reported he died of natural causes.
He was the last surviving member of the three-man junta, and led the dictatorship until 1981.
Pope Francis, an Argentine, has been accused of playing a role in the kidnappings of two Jesuit priests during that period as well, but the Vatican has denied the charges.
More from GlobalPost: Two discordant 'dirty war' narratives of Pope Francis continue
In 1990, Videla was pardoned for his crimes by then-President Carlos Menem in an attempt to move the country past its painful history. However, the supreme court upheld the overturning of the pardon in 2010, and Videla was tried and convicted.
The trial of those involved in the dirty war was hailed as historic in Argentina.
“For the first time the members of a military junta are being tried by civilian courts for the crimes they committed during a dictatorship,” Ernesto Sabato, the Argentine novelist and head of the investigative commission, said at the time, The New York Times reported.
The general also survived numerous assassination attempts, including one in 1977 when a bomb exploded on a runway in Buenos Aires near a plane he was on.