Friday, November 14, 2008

Former El Salvador Leader in War Crimes Case

Human rights groups from the United States and Spain filed a lawsuit in a Spanish court Thursday, charging El Salvador's former president, Alfredo Cristiani, with covering up crimes against humanity. The case involves the killing of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her teenaged daughter nearly two decades ago during El Salvador's civil war. Fourteen former Salvadoran military officers are accused of war crimes, murders and state terrorism in connection with the massacre dating back to November 1989. It has become one of the most notorious episodes of El Salvador's 12-year civil war that pitted leftist guerrillas against the U.S.-backed conservative government. Some 75,000 people died. The case filed by two human rights groups in Madrid argues that justice was never done in El Salvador. Two military officers were convicted of murder in 1991 in the deaths of the Jesuits, but were pardoned in 1993 under an amnesty law approved by the national assembly.

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