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News > El Salvador

Ex-Colonel To Remain in Prison for El Salvador's 'Jesuits Case'

  • Ex-colonel Inocente Montano.

    Ex-colonel Inocente Montano. | Photo: @Politicoscope

Published 3 February 2021

Inocente Montano was sentenced in Spain to 133 years in prison for the murder of five Jesuit priests in 1989.

Spain's Superior Court (SC) Wednesday ratified the prison sentence against ex-colonel Inocente Montano who was prosecuted for the murders of five Spanish Jesuit priests in El Salvador in 1989.


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Acting as El Salvador's Security Deputy Minister at the moment of the events, Montano was sentenced to 133 years in prison for the "terrorist murders" of Ignacio Ellacuria, Segundo Montes, Ignacio Martin-Baro, Amando Lopez, and Juan Moreno.

The SC considered that he also murdered the Salvadoran Jesuit Joaquin Lopez, the religious assistant Julia Elba and her daughter Celina Mariceth aged 15. however, Montano was not tried for these charges, 

The Court rejected the exoneration claims presented by him because he was present in the meetings where the murders were decided and the security forces responded to his command. 

After 31 years of the assassinations, the sentence highlighted that the murders were "plotted, planned, agreed and ordered" by El Salvador's top military elite, including the former President Alfredo Cristiani (1989-1994) whose extradition to Spain was refused.

"The decision was taken using the weapons of power against absolutely defenseless victims who were killed for some theoretical ideals...they were linked to public resistance movements and they could do nothing to defend themselves", the Sentence reads.

On Nov. 15, 1989, Atlacatl special troops assassinated the 8 victims at the Central American University. In October last year, El Salvador’s Supreme Court ordered the closure of the criminal proceedings on the "Jesuits case".

Besides Montano and Cristiani, Generals Humberto Larios, Juan Bustillo, Francisco Fuentes, and Rafael Zepeda were also accused of the crime.

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