Spain pursues Salvadoran soldiers over 1989 killings

June 1, 2011

MADRID – A Spanish judge on Monday ordered the arrest of 20 soldiers from El Salvador over the 1989 murders of six Jesuits priests, five of them Spanish, and two women who worked with them.

The order was the latest development to an action started in 2008 when two rights groups denounced Alfredo Cristiani, El Salvador’s president at the time, and 14 senior military figures for the killings.

Judge Eloy Velasco had already ruled in January 2009 that there was a case to answer.

On November 16, 1989, Salvadoran troops shot dead the Jesuits at the Central American University. They also killed a women who worked there as their housekeeper and her 16-year-old daughter.

The victims included Ignacio Ellacuria, the rector of the university, and his deputy, Ignacio Martin Baro.

In San Salvador rights groups hailed the move as an important step towards justice.

The judge’s decision “gives us encouragement to continue the fight against impunity,” Miguel Montenegro, director of the Human Rights Commission of El Salvador (CDHES), told AFP.

Ten Salvadoran soldiers were convicted of the killings in 1991, but a amnesty for crimes committed during the country’s 1980-1992 civil war meant they were set freed in 1993.

Abraham Abrego, deputy director of the Foundation for the Application and Study of Law, an independent human-rights organization, also welcomed the “positive” development in the case, hailing the possibility of it being brought before an international court because the Salvadoran judicial system had not properly probed the killings.

Spain’s ambassador to San Salvador at the time, Fernando Alvarez de Miranda, had said the killings were backed by “the highest levels” of the military.

You may be interested

Adaptive surfing, part II: The story of Dean Bushby
sports
136 views
sports
136 views

Adaptive surfing, part II: The story of Dean Bushby

Ellen Zoe Golden - May 22, 2018

A three-part look at adaptive surfing in Costa Rica. Read Part I here to learn how a Central Pacific coach is…

Costa Rica launches Pride Connection network
Human rights
163 views
Human rights
163 views

Costa Rica launches Pride Connection network

Elizabeth Lang - May 22, 2018

As Costa Rica continues to grapple with the disagreements about marriage equality and gender identity that dominated the second round…

Costa Rica at a glance: top news from the past week
The Alvarado Administration
194 views
The Alvarado Administration
194 views

Costa Rica at a glance: top news from the past week

The Tico Times - May 21, 2018

Newly inaugurated Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado is closing in on two weeks on the job. Here are some of…