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Between 1976 and 1983, a military dictatorship ruled Argentina and brought that country into an era of state-directed terror aimed at the civilian population. During that period, a small and vulnerable human rights community, allied with international backers, attempted to stay the hand of the military state and provide a measure of protection for the victims and potential victims of the dictatorship. The struggle was to defend the most elementary of human rights: freedom from arbitrary detention, torture, and summary execution. While the stakes in this struggle were high-life or death for thousands of individuals-it was nonetheless an unfortunately familiar effort to define the limits of what a state may inflict on its citizens.

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