Sept. 11 (UPI) — A Spanish court on Friday sentenced a former Salvadoran colonel to 133 years in prison for the slayings of five Jesuit priests during his country’s civil war three decades ago.
The National Court in Madrid handed down a sentence of 26 years, eight months and one day in prison to Inocente Orlando Montano for each of the five deaths.
The killings happened in 1989, during El Salvador’s civil war. Catholic priests were accused during this time of collaborating with left-wing opposition members.
Troops dragged the five priests, a sixth priest, their housekeeper and the housekeeper’s daughter from their beds at Central American University, and killed them.
The court found Montano responsible for the three other slayings but couldn’t sentence him on those charges because his extradition from the United States to Spain didn’t include those cases. The sentence was handed down for the five priests who were Spanish.
Montano is one of several military officials from El Salvador accused in the slayings.
Prosecutors said he shared oversight responsibility over a Salvadoran government radio station that urged the killings of the Spanish priests days before the massacre while he served as vice minister of Defense and Public Safety.
They said he also participated in a series of meetings during which a fellow Salvadoran army officer gave the order to kill the priests.