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Guatemala, U.S. Rape Trial Recesses

January 25, 1999

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) _ The trial of three men accused of raping five U.S. college students in Guatemala has been recessed until Feb. 5.

Judge Elmer Rolando Espina Figueroa in Escuintla, 35 miles south of the capital, gave no reason Monday for the delay. It is not unusual for trials to be interrupted in Guatemala so courts can handle other matters.

The defendants, who maintain they are innocent, are charged with rape and robbery in the January 1998 attack on a bus carrying 13 students and three faculty members from St. Mary’s College in Maryland. They are accused of forcing the bus to stop at gunpoint, robbing the passengers and raping five women in a sugar cane field in southern Guatemala.

A three-judge panel heard testimony in the case Wedesday through Friday. Four of the rape victims and a professor have testified in closed sessions and have identified the defendants as being among their attackers.

Police are seeking five other men believed to have been involved in the attack.

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