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He Took Part in an Atrocity, Is Sentenced to 5,160 Years

Ex-Guatemalan special forces soldier Santos Lopez Alonzo was part of 1982 massacre
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2018 4:09 AM CST
This Aug. 5, 2016 photo shows Guatemalan massacre suspect Santos Lopez Alonzo at a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in Adelanto, Calif.   (AP Photo/Amy Taxin)
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(Newser) – Former Guatemalan special forces soldier Santos Lopez Alonzo has been sentenced to 5,160 years in prison—30 years for each of the 171 people whose killings he participated in during a 1982 massacre, and another 30 for the killing of a girl who originally survived the slaughter, the BBC reports. The sentence was symbolic, the New York Times reports: The maximum anybody can serve in prison in Guatemala is 50 years, though that will make little difference to the 66-year-old Alonzo's fate. According to prosecutors, Alonzo was part of a unit called the Kaibiles that massacred more than 200 men, women, and children in a raid on the hamlet of Dos Erres that began on Dec. 6, 1982.

The soldiers were seeking weapons taken after an ambush by leftist guerrillas in the region that killed around 20 troops. When they failed to find them, they began raping and murdering the villagers in a days-long spasm of violence considered one of the most sickening atrocities of the country's 36-year civil war. Years later, investigators found the remains of 171 people in a well. Most had been killed with sledgehammers. Alonzo, one of several soldiers involved in the massacre who ended up in the US, was deported back to Guatemala in 2016. One of the few survivors was a 3-year-old boy whose story was told in the 2017 documentary Finding Oscar. Sky reports that Alonzo kidnapped and adopted another survivor, a 5-year-old boy who ended up testifying against him. (Read more Guatemala stories.)

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