Jesuits case in Spain may go forward
For a number of years, a court in Spain has had before it a case involving the 1989 murder of the Jesuit priests at the University of Central America. Although the case is before the court, none of the former military officer defendants are yet before the court. El Salvador's Supreme Judicial Court has twice denied extradition of the officers who are in El Salvador.
This leaves former Salvadoran army colonel Inocente Orlando Montano Morales who has been fighting attempts to extradite him from the US to Spain. Yesterday Montano lost another round in court. From the Associated Press:
Judge Terrence Boyle ruled that a lower-level magistrate judge was correct last year in approving the extradition of Inocente Orlando Montano Morales, who is charged with “terrorist murder” in the 1989 killings of the Jesuit priests, most of whom were from Spain.
A human rights lawyer who helped persuade Spanish authorities to prosecute Montano applauded.
“The U.S. government has a great interest in cooperating with Spain on an accusation of terrorist murder,” said Patty Blum, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley. “This is all about international cooperation.”
Montano could still ask a federal appeals court to halt his extradition. His attorney, James Todd, didn’t respond to a message seeking comment.NCR described the earlier magistrate's ruling which has now been affirmed:
Montano is the highest-ranking official in recent history to be ordered extradited from the United States for human rights violations. At the time of the massacre, Montano served as the Vice Minister of Defense for Public Safety, in command of the National Police, the Treasury Police, and the National Guard.
In her 23-page ruling, [U.S. Magistrate Judge] Swank said the evidence shows that Montano participated in the "terrorist" murders and attended the key meetings where the high command plotted the assassination of Jesuit Father Ignacio Ellacuría, the rector of the University of Central America.Montano is elderly and reportedly in ill health. If he continues to fight by appealing this most recent decision, he may not live to see the inside of a Spanish court.
Meanwhile, there are little reports of progress in attempts to have a prosecution in courts in El Salvador, despite the removal of the former 1993 Amnesty Law.
|Réquiem para los mártires by Antonio Bonilla|