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Argentine Gang Leader Given 22 Years in Prison for Kidnapping a Jewish Man

September 29, 2004
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The leader of an Argentine gang accused of kidnapping a Jewish man and cutting off his finger has been sentenced to 22 years in jail. Other members of the gang were sentenced Monday to anywhere between three and 16 years in prison. Two gang members were acquitted.

The victim, Ariel Strajman, said he was disappointed by the sentences. “Almost demolished, terribly hurt, disappointed,” he said after the sentences were handed out.

The court did not consider “racial hate” as part of the sentence, although the perpetrator allegedly used an anti-Jewish epithet.

The prosecutor and the plaintiff had demanded at least 30 years of prison for the gang leader, Adrian Sommaruga.

Strajman was kidnapped for 34 hours in October 2002 and his finger was cut off to pressure the family.

During his captivity, Strajman said in the trial, the gang burned his chest and mouth with cigarettes, threatened to draw swastikas on his body and threw ham on his face. “Shitty Jew, you’ll see what Holocaust suffering was about,” Strajman said his attackers told him.

Strajman’s lawyer, Carlos Wiater, called the verdict “more than satisfactory.”

While murderers are usually sentenced to 11 or 12 years of prison in Argentina, Sommaruga received about twice that for the kidnapping.

“I really appreciate the Strajmans,” Wiater told JTA. “I know their suffering was and still is tremendous. But they are relying on emotion for their analysis.”

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