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Salvadoran War Criminal Sentenced

2012 November 2

Alleged Salvadoran War Criminal
Convicted of U.S. Immigration Fraud

A senior Salvadoran military officer involved in plotting the murder of six Jesuit faculty members at the University of Central America has pled guilty to immigration fraud. The trial concluded in mid-November. Prosecutors are asking for a 15-24 month sentence, but human rights organizations demand that Inocente Orlando Montano be deported to Spain, which wants to try him for the killing of the priests, five of whom were Spaniards. Since it is highly unlikely that El Salvador will ever prosecute Montano, or others accused of war crimes during the country’s bloody civil war, trial in Spain might be the only opportunity to challenge the impunity they have enjoyed to date.
            Sentencing on the immigration charge (and presumably any decision about deportation) will happen in December. As the Boston Globe’s article suggested, the former Colonel (at center in photo below) appeared to be playing up his age and alleged infirmity during the hearing: “Montano stood hunched over before US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock as he entered his pleas through a Spanish interpreter to charges of immigration fraud and perjury. The 70-year-old man’s cane fell as he answered, ‘Guilty,’ to six charges.”
            Montano had been living under his own name in the Boston suburb of Everett for years before being located and identified by the human rights groups last year. In addition to the six Jesuits, Salvadoran troops – many of them trained at the infamous U.S. School of the Americas – also killed the men’s housekeeper and her daughter.
            As I reported a year ago, Montano repeatedly lied in his annual applications for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States, denying that he had ever been in the military, received military or weapons training, or been “part of any unit that had used or threatened to use weapons against other people.”

NOTE: See Wednesday’s post regarding the alleged ties between Mitt Romney’s firm, Bain Capital, and  the backers of Salvadoran death squads.

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