A man walks his dog past a portrait of protester Maldonado placed at the entrance of a judicial morgue in Buenos Aires
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The brother of a young protester who went missing in Argentina nearly three months ago identified his body on Friday, speaking to journalists after leaving the morgue.
Investigators discovered a body on Tuesday in the Chubut River in Patagonia near where Santiago Maldonado was last seen at an indigenous rights protest on Aug. 1.
An autopsy has not been completed, but Santiago's brother Sergio said on Friday he no longer doubted its identity.
"We saw the body. We recognized Santiago's tattoos so we are convinced it is Santiago," he said.
Some government opposition and rights groups have said state security forces took Maldonado, a 28-year-old craftsman, after police clashed with Mapuche Indians at the protest.
They allege President Mauricio Macri's government covered up his whereabouts. Macri's government says there was no evidence showing security forces detained Maldonado.
The Maldonado case has overshadowed Sunday's congressional election in a country where potential cases of abuse by security forces are particularly sensitive.
The country's 1976-83 military dictatorship secretly detained, tortured and killed people in clandestine prisons and rights groups say up to 30,000 people "disappeared."
Former leftist President Cristina Fernandez, who is seeking a Senate seat in Buenos Aires province, has criticized the government's handling of the case. It has also spurred mass protests and campaigns on social media demanding to know what happened to Maldonado.
(Reporting by Juliana Castilla and Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)