Priest Gets Life for 'Dirty War' Crimes

He shared parishioners' confessions with police
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2007 9:03 AM CDT
Former police chaplain Christian Von Wernich, center, is escorted by police officers as he enters the courtroom before the verdict was pronounced in a trial in La Plata, Argentina, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2007....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A former Roman Catholic priest  who delivered dozens of Argentines to the former military junta was sentenced to life in prison yesterday. Christian von Wernich, 69, passed his parishioners’ confessions to police during the so-called "Dirty War,"  leading to 7 murders, 42 abductions and 31 cases of torture, according to the BBC. Survivors say he watched torture sessions, absolving police of blame.

Crowds outside cheered, set off fireworks, and burned the priest in effigy, Britain's Times reports. “Justice has been done,” said one activist. “The Catholic Church was an accomplice.” The church, however, said von Wernich had sinned “against God, humanity, and his own conscience.” Von Wernich had likened his plight to Jesus’ trial and called his accusers possessed by the devil. (Read more Argentina stories.)