The United States extradited ex-Salvadoran Col. Inocente Orlando Montano to Spain to stand trial for charges related to the slayings of six Jesuit priests.
Montano, 74, is set to face trial in Spain on Thursday and will be one of the first top-ranking Salvadoran commanders to face criminal prosecution.
He is one of 19 former Salvadoran military officials indicted in Spain for the 1989 deaths of Six Jesuit priests, five of whom were Spanish, as well as their housekeeper, and the housekeeper’s 16-year old daughter during the 10-year Salvadoran civil conflict.
“Criminals and those lawfully charged with criminal offenses overseas should not be able to find safe haven in the United States,” Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan said. “Today’s extradition demonstrates our firm commitment to honoring our obligations under extradition treaties. As a result, an alleged human-rights violator will now face justice in Spain.”
The complaint seeking Montano’s extradition to Spain alleges he shared oversight responsibility over a government radio station that urged the killings of the priests days before the massacre, while he served as vice minister of Defense and Public Safety.
It also accuses him of participating in a series of meetings during which a fellow Salvadoran army officer gave the order to kill the priests.
Montano, who previously lived in Everett, Mass., was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison in 2013 for immigration fraud and perjury.
His extradition was handled by attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina, the District of Massachusetts and the Office of International Affairs.
By Daniel Uria