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Newborn ‘Stolen’ From Her Parents Is Reunited With Relatives 40 Years On

'Love is stronger than hate, always.'

06/12/2017 16:13 GMT | Updated 06/12/2017 16:20 GMT

A woman taken from her mother as a newborn baby has appeared with the campaign group who reunited her with her relatives in Argentina.

Adriana, who has asked not to have her surname released, is the 126th child found by the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. The group searches for people who disappeared under Argentina’s military rule between 1976 – 1983.

Adriana’s parents – since identified as engineering students Violeta Ortolani and Edgardo Garnier – vanished during the dictatorship 40 years ago.

Bernardino Avila / Reuters
Adriana with Estela de Carlotto, president of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a campaign group which reunited her with her relatives 

Their daughter was identified after her DNA was found to match that of relatives of the couple, both of whom were active in a left-wing student group during the late 70s.

Ortolani, 23, was detained by the military in the Argentine city of La Plata in December 1976 when she was eight months pregnant. Adriana was born in prison a month later and Garnier, 21, was kidnapped shortly afterwards as he searched for his missing partner and child.

The couple were never seen again and are among what human rights group estimate to be 30,000 people who disappeared during the so-called Dirty War dictatorship.

Bernardino Avila / Reuters
Adriana flanked with pictures of her parents Violeta Ortolani and Edgardo Garnier, who disappeared in 1977, the year of her birth 

According to the Grandmothers campaign group, Adriana’s birth certificate was falsified and she was illegally adopted. It was not until the people who lovingly raised her passed away that she learned she had been taken from her biological parents.

In comments reported by the BBC, Adriana said: “I wanted to know if I was the daughter of people who had disappeared, more than anything because of the date of my birth… I began to think I had been abandoned, given away, sold, that they hadn’t wanted me.”

Garnier’s mother has been a key figure in the Grandmothers group and never gave up searching for her grandchild.

Bernardino Avila / Reuters
Adriana only learned of her history after her foster parents passed away 

Adriana said: “She is beautiful inside and out and such a personality. Love is stronger than hate, always.”

Argentina has prosecuted many dictatorship-era crimes and last year convicted 15 ex-military officials of conspiring to kidnap and assassinate leftist dissidents. 

Officials during the dictatorship have also been convicted of organising the theft of children from political prisoners who were often executed. 

A statement on the Grandmothers group website reads: “To our grandchildren, we reaffirm that here only the loving shelter of truth awaits them. Welcome, granddaughter 126!”