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Wed Aug 23, 2017, 09:53 AM

Federal Court: US Can Extradite Ex-El Salvador Official to Spain for Jesuits Massacre

Federal Court: US Can Extradite Ex-El Salvador Official to Spain for Jesuits Massacre
By Beth Van Schaack
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 9:16 AM

On Monday, U.S. federal judge Terrence Boyle ruled that Inocente Orlando Montano Morales (Montano)—who headed El Salvador’s National Police as Vice Minister for Public Security in the 1980s—can be extradited to Spain to stand trial for his role in the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter on the grounds of the University of Central America (UCA). A magistrate judge, Kimberly Swank, had earlier reached the same conclusion (her ruling is here). Montano sought habeas corpus from the district court, the government filed a motion to dismiss, and a hearing was held in November 2016. Monday’s ruling followed. Here is a quick update on this story, which I’ve covered in the past.

The massacre took place during the Salvadoran civil war. Members of the Salvadoran army stormed the UCA, forced the priests to kneel in the courtyard, and subsequently shot them in the back of the head. The Salvadoran Truth Commission, declassified documents collected by the non-profit National Security Archives, and the diary of one of the co-conspirators all reveal that Colonel Montano was present when the order was given to kill Father Ignacio Ellacuría—who was attempting to broker peace talks between the government and the rebel forces—and to leave no witnesses. Five of the priests were Spanish nationals.

The massacre sparked global outrage and in many respects marked a turning point in the war. It also led to a U.S. congressional investigation that concluded that the U.S. military had trained members of the armed forces who participated in the killing in “unconventional warfare” and other military tactics.

. . .

In 2008, lawyers from the Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA) and the Spanish Pro-Human Rights Association invoked the Spanish law on extraterritorial jurisdiction to seek the indictment of 20 former Salvadoran military officials alleged to have been involved in the Jesuit massacre, including Montano. Colonel Montano was discovered living in Everett, Massachusetts and working at a candy factory. Having lied about his military service when he entered the United States and applied for Temporary Protective Status, he was charged in the United States with immigration fraud (18 USC 1546); he eventually pled guilty in September 2012 and was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment. He served his sentence in North Carolina, which is where his extradition challenge has played out. My colleague, Prof. Terry Lynn Karl, submitted an expert report in the case detailing Montano’s involvement in a range of human rights abuses, including the murder of the Jesuits. In the meantime, Spain sought Montano’s extradition from the United States and that process has been underway ever since. The rest of the defendants are presumed to be in El Salvador. The Spanish extradition requests to Salvador have not borne fruit, however, in part due to the application of the amnesty law.



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Reply Federal Court: US Can Extradite Ex-El Salvador Official to Spain for Jesuits Massacre (Original post)
Judi Lynn Aug 2017 OP
TEB Aug 2017 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Aug 23, 2017, 10:19 AM

1. Awesome

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