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May 10, 2013

Former Guatemalan president gets 80 years in prison for crimes against humanity

Efrain Rios Montt

While the case of Caleb Orozco was being argued all week in court, across the border, the courts in Guatemala were also hearing the case against Efrain Rios Montt, the former president who was being tried for genocide and crimes against humanity. This afternoon, the tribunal found the eighty-six year old Rios Montt guilty and sentenced him to a total of eighty years in prison for both crimes. Before sentencing, Rio Montt proclaimed his innocence saying he did not order the massacre of indigenous people. During the trial, a witness claimed that the current president, Otto Perez Molina, a former military general who served under Dictator Efrain Rios Montt from 1982 to 1983, carried out the orders. Perez Molina has denied the allegations. At the time, it is alleged he carried the name of Tito Arias and that he coordinated the burning and looting of the people to later execute them.  The victims included elderly and pregnant women. It is noteworthy that Otto Perez Molina cannot be persecuted while he sits in office. Rios Montt is the second Guatemalan president to be sent to prison. Alfonso Portillo is the first, he was found guilty of money laundering.  But Rios Montt is the first former head of state that has been found guilty of genocide in his own country.

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7 Responses for “Former Guatemalan president gets 80 years in prison for crimes against humanity”

  1. Storm says:

    It was a pretty brutal war against the Mayans, including villages being bombed from the air almost every day. I think the sentence sends a good message. I’ll bet Perez Molina will spend the rest of his presidential term trying to derail the investigation, or looking for a place to move where he can buy sanctuary from prosecution.

  2. Liberty & Freedom says:

    What a corrupt and muderous government. And Barrow wants to go to the ICJ to solve the border dispute with a President who has blood on his hands. How many Belizeans would die under the Molina regime?

  3. cg says:

    what you do in this life, you pay for it in this life….sooner or later

  4. Tashybze says:

    Cant control your own country but want Belize. Get you heads out your @$$#$

  5. GrigaMan says:

    It is wonderful that this monster has been tried, convicted and sentenced; what about the turning the legal microscope on the US, which supported and armed the butcher of Guatemala? The US knew what he was doing, but turned a blind eye. If you look closely at all the civil wars in the countries of Central America (and even the world), the US has a hand in all of them, under the guise of battling communism. The US should stop trying to export its brand of freedom and democracy to the rest of the world, because the indigenous people always suffer. Whenever someone cares about their country and heritage, and speak about true nationalism, the US brands them as communist and seeks to destroy them.

  6. belize spanish says:

    look at the process, we can’t convict gangbangers, do you think we can convict a former Prime Minister for a crime. Belize democracy and independent judiciary is fragile …so let’s not point too much fingers, Belizeans like to dismiss central american countries as banana republics, but a lot has changed in the past 25 years since these countries stopped thier civil war, look at Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador. these countries are signing free trade agreement with the US and other European and Asian countries, they are moving ahead, where is Belize.was Barrow even invited to the meeting with CA heads 2 weeks ago?

  7. Storm says:

    To be fair, @Grigaman, wherever the US went to fight Communism was in reaction to the Soviets or Cubans going there first to impose it. It was a battle of superpowers in those days, struggling to dominate the world or to defend to stop their adversary — when the elephants battle, the ants get crushed.

    If the US had not stood behind various countries to defend them, there would be a lot more Communist countries today — Grenada and Nicaragua for sure, maybe El Salvador, even Honduras, too.

    When the Soviet Union collapsed and could no longer support “wars of Marxist liberation,” then the US stopped helping governments oppose them. At one time, around 1980, there were Cuban troops fighting in something like 27 countries, in Africa and throughout.

    It takes 2 sides to make a fight, and in the Cold War that happened in many countries, sadly. We’re living in a period of relative regional tranquility now, and GOB should make the most of it by inviting peaceful international development, consistent with longterm national goals and priorities.

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