Buenos Aires — After five years in prison and house arrest, former Argentine President Maria Estela Martinez de Peron has been set free by judicial order. Monitor Latin America correspondent James Nelson Goodsell writes that Mrs. Peron, whose government was toppled by a military coup d'etat in 1976, is expected to go into exile, perhaps to Spain, where she has a home inherited from her late husband, Juan Domingo Peron, whom she succeeded as President in 1974.
In freeing her July 6, Judge Pedro Narvaiz said she was eligible for parole because of the time she had already spent in confinement. Judge Narvaiz imposed an 18-month sentence on her for transferring a public building to her Justicialista Party during her two years in office and then ordered her immediate release.
In all, mrs. Peron was sentenced to seven years and 11 months on various charges of fraud and mishandling public funds. She has served more than two-thirds of that time.