El Salvador's supreme court sides with massacre suspects
By MARCOS ALEMAN
Aug. 23, 2017
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — El Salvador's supreme court on Tuesday cancelled arrest orders for 16 retired soldiers accused of involvement in the killing of six Jesuit priests and two others in 1989 during the country's civil war.
Five of the priests were Spaniards, and Spain was seeking the extradition of the 16 along with retired Col. Inocente Orlando Montano, who is jailed in the United States and awaiting extradition.
The Salvadoran court's constitutional arm said it cancelled the orders because the court had already ruled their extradition would be improper.
Of those sought by Spain, only nine had faced justice in El Salvador for the killings. In 1991, a jury absolved most of them. Two were convicted, but later released under an amnesty for those who committed crimes during the civil war.
In July 2016, the court lifted the amnesty and former Col. Guillermo Benavides, who had been convicted before the amnesty, was imprisoned.
Spanish priests Segundo Montes, Ignacio Ellacuria, Ignacio Martin Baro, Armando Lopez, Juan Ramon Moreno and Salvadoran priest Joaquin Lopez were killed in November 1989 along with two of their employees, Elba and Celina Ramos. Troops made the victims kneel and then shot them in the head in the garden of their residence on the Central American University campus.
Outrage over the massacre prompted a U.S. congressional investigation which found that members of the force that killed the priests had received training from the U.S. military.