A former colonel of the Salvadoran military, Inocente Orlando Montano Morales, has been convicted in a Spanish court for is participation in the murder of five Jesuit priests in 1989. Montano has been sentenced to more than 133 years in prison.
The former colonel was El Salvador’s vice-minister for public security during the civil war that divided El Salvador in the 1980s. He was convicted Sept. 11 of planning and ordering the killing of five Jesuit priests, all of whom were Spanish, at the Central American University in San Salvador.
A Salvadoran Jesuit priest, their housekeeper, and her daughter were also killed, but the former colonel was convicted in Spain only of the killings of the five Spanish Jesuits.
Montano maintained his innocence, though witnesses testified that he believed the Jesuits were collaborators of the Marxist guerilla Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, which El Salvador’s military junta fought in a bloody civil war that spanned more than a decade.
The Jesuits in El Salvador were active proponents of peace talks and a negotiation between the government and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. One of the priests killed, Father Ignacio Ellecuria, SJ, was an outspoken critic of El Salvador’s government, according to Reuters.
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