Eleven serving officers of the Argentine Army have been suspended from duty pending inquiries into the death of Second Lieutenant Matías Chirino after an initiation party at the Artillery Group Nº 3 barracks in Paso de los Libres, in the province of Corrientes last weekend.
The Chief of the Army General Staff, Major General Guillermo Olegario Pereda, immediately ordered the Military Justice proceedings to be carried out in order to clarify the fact and determine the corresponding individual responsibilities within the framework of what is established in the Code of Discipline of the Armed Forces, the Army said in a statement, which also pointed out 11 officers had been placed under preventive suspension.
Defense Minister Jorge Taiana also said Wednesday that it was unacceptable that there have been excesses in a welcome reception of the second lieutenant, and explained that the 11 officers who participated in the barbecue dinner had been suspended for alleged serious misconduct.
According to Corrientes media, Chirino choked on his own vomit, while technically he died from bronchoaspiration due to food after ingesting a large amount of alcohol and food during the celebration, also known as baptism.
They killed my son, said Ezequiel Chirino, father of the deceased. It was not an accident, it was an abuse of authority, he insisted, meaning that his 22-year-old son had drunk all that alcohol, not of his own free will but compelled by his superiors.
The man also explained he received a call last from someone from the Artillery Group named Delatorre, who said: 'Are you Matías Chirino's father? Come to the hospital because your son is dead'? With that coldness he told me what had happened.
Ezequiel, who lives in Río Cuarto in the province of Córdoba, said he was in Paso de los Libres that evening after accompanying his son to his new post. Hence the welcome party.
In the Army that's a tradition, anyone knows that. They demanded him to drink, then they forced him to jump into the pool and what happened happened happened. They killed my son, it was not an accident, it was an abuse of authority, he said.
Ezequiel also said that when he arrived at the hospital in Paso de los Libres, he found his son on a stretcher, dead and naked, only with a torn shirt. He also pointed out that the unit chief gave him no explanations because obviously he is covering for those who abused their authority.
I asked him if he had a heart, because I have never in my life met such a cold guy, who instead of containing me because I was alone with my dead son, had a total coldness, he added.
A whole family is destroyed, we are broken. I am going to get advice and I will do everything possible to get justice.
Chirino also said that the Army officers involved in his son's welcome party should not be dismissed; they should be sent to prison because they abused their authority and killed a 22-year-old boy.