Guatemala Sentences Ex-Soldiers to 6K Years

Four convicted of massacring villagers in 1982

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff | Suggested by Larry-Crehore

Posted Aug 3, 2011 2:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Guatemalan court has sentenced four former soldiers to more than 6,000 years each for the 1982 massacre of 201 men, women, and children. The conviction is the first for a massacre during the country's 36-year civil war, in which nearly a quarter of a million people were killed, the AP reports. The men were sentenced to 30 years for each murder and an additional 30 years for crimes against humanity.

The court heard that the soldiers, ordered to search a village for weapons stolen from an army base, raped and tortured residents before shooting them, strangling them, or bludgeoning them to death with sledgehammers. "We waited many years for justice," a survivor says. "I saw when they were killing people. They had us kneeling for five hours and would put their rifles in our mouths every time we asked them to stop killing the others."

The Dos Erres massacre was one of the bloodiest in Guatemala's brutal 36-year civil war.
The Dos Erres massacre was one of the bloodiest in Guatemala's brutal 36-year civil war.   (AP)
Relatives of the victims form the word 'Justice' with flowers outside the Supreme Court on August 2, 2011 in Guatemala City.
Relatives of the victims form the word 'Justice' with flowers outside the Supreme Court on August 2, 2011 in Guatemala City.   (Getty Images)
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