Nine El Salvador Ex-soldiers Surrender over Jesuit Killings
Tags: El Salvador, Jesuit, jesuits, Society of Jesus
Nine former Salvadoran soldiers have turned themselves in to face charges that they shot dead six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter during El Salvador’s civil war in 1989.
The soldiers had been indicted in Spain under its universal jurisdiction law, which holds that some crimes are so grave that they can be tried anywhere; five of the Jesuit priests were Spanish.
El Salvador will decide whether to extradite them to Spain.
The men handed themselves in at a military base on August 8 after reportedly hearing that Salvadoran police were going to detain them under an international arrest order issued by Interpol.
A total of 20 former soldiers, including two former defense ministers, were indicted by the Spanish court. Gen. Rene Emilio Ponce, accused of ordering the killings, died in May. Ten other suspects remain at large.
Human rights groups have welcomed the move by the nine former military men but say they hold out little hope that the Salvadoran Supreme Court will extradite them to Spain. [BBC News]