Jesuits case at crucial juncture

The long-running attempt by a Spanish court to bring justice in the case of the murder of six Jesuit priests in 1989, along with their housekeeper and her daughter, may be coming to a head.  

The human rights lawyer who has been in the lead of this human rights case, Almudena Bernabéu, announced an important new piece of evidence.    Former Salvadoran president Alfredo Cristiani, who held office at the time of the assassinations, has given an interview where he purportedly acknowledged the responsibility of the Salvadoran military officers.   The interview was given to novelist Jorge Galan when Galan was researching his recently published book Noviembre about the massacre.  

Galan talked to a reporter where he stated that he was put in contact with Cristiani through the ex-president's daughter.   In his interview he asked Cristiani about the intellectual authors of the Jesuit massacre, and Cristiani confirmed with the names of the military officials.

In November 2015 when Galan's book, a fictionalized account of the Jesuit murders, was published, he faced threats and was forced to flee El Salvador.

El Salvador has detained 4 of the 17 military officers for whom the Spanish court has issued arrest warrants.  (There's been no real explanation for why the other officers have not been located and detained).  

The officers arrested have petitioned El Salvador's Supreme Judicial Court to release them and reject the extradition request from Spain.   Reports in El Faro about draft decisions being prepared by the court suggest that it will do just that.  The court seems prepared to deny extradition on the grounds that some of the officers were already tried in El Salvador and that others are protected by the amnesty law passed after the end of the civil war.   In 2012, the court also denied extradition of the military officers with a strained reading of the international arrest warrant request.

It may be that the only former Salvadoran military officer to face the Spanish tribunal will be former Colonel Orlando Montano.    Montano is being extradited by the US government to Spain after being convicted of immigration fraud when he entered the US.


Alfredo said…
Sometimes justice is slow......but sooner or later it gets there.
Trace said…
Hi Tim. I have been reading your blog for a while. Thanks for all the good work. I am a US citizen actually (and currently) living in El Salvador. Today's headlines make a pretty good blog post to get a feel for where things are at. A city mayor doling out extortion money to the gangs? or an accomplice? Check it out at
Tim said…
Hi Trace. Thanks for the feedback. I blogged about Apopa on Wednesday. Talking to friends who live there, they are only surprised at the magnitude of what was happening, but not the ties betweeen maras and mayor.