Ex-Dictator, 86, Gets 80 Years for Genocide
Efrain Rios Montt of Guatemala convicted in mass deaths of villagers
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2013 5:39 AM CDT
Former Guatemala former dictator Efrain Rios Montt wears headphones as he listens to the verdict in his genocide trial in Guatemala City Friday.   (AP Photo/Luis Soto)

(Newser) – A former Guatemalan dictator earned an awful place in history yesterday when he became the first former head of state convicted of genocide in his own country, reports the BBC. A court sentenced 86-year-old Efrain Rios Montt to 50 years for genocide and another 30 years for crimes against humanity, reports Reuters. Rios Montt ruled for less than two years in 1982-83, but he was accused of letting his military orchestrate the mass killings, rape, and torture of indigenous villagers viewed as supporters of leftist rebels.

Cries of "Justicia!" broke out inside and outside the courtroom in Guatemala City as the verdict was read. The trial specifically held Rios Montt responsible for 1,771 deaths of the Maya Ixil indigenous group, but far more were killed during his reign, which came during the bloodiest part of the nation's 36-year civil war, says AP. Most of the coverage, including that in the New York Times, is resurrecting a quote from Ronald Reagan calling Rios Montt "man of great personal integrity and commitment.” Reagan saw Rios Montt as an ally in the fight against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

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Showing 3 of 35 comments
Ivan_the_Gypsy
May 12, 2013 10:30 AM CDT
Interesting. He's 86 and gets 80 years. So dramatic but so silly. He'll be dead in 10 years.
williambaranowski
May 12, 2013 2:43 AM CDT
Care to bet on who the second one will be?
republiCONssuck
May 11, 2013 6:46 PM CDT
Criminal Nazi dictator Rios-Montt should have been executed while he was in office. But of course this did not happen since his best pal was reich wing Nazi Reagan.