- Title: FILE: El Salvador arrests soldiers linked to civil war murders of Jesuit priests
- Date: 9th August 2011
- Summary: MORE OF SLAIN PRIESTS COVERED WITH BLANKET
- Embargoed: 24th August 2011 13:00
- Location: El Salvador
- Country: El Salvador
- Reuters ID: LVASS2XQR52SI4MMR1WYCPL63TX
- Story Text: Nine Salvadoran soldiers accused in Spain of taking part in the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests during El Salvador's civil war were arrested and handed over to a judge after turning themselves in, the government of the Central American country said on Monday (August 08).
The move comes three months after Spain's highest court ordered the capture and processing of 19 suspects.
Following the Spanish ruling, Interpol ordered the arrest of ten of the soldiers, including several of high rank.
The arrest warrant also included ex-Defence Minister, General Rene Ponce, who died in May due to cardiac problems.
Salvadoran authorities were preparing for an operation to capture the nine soldiers, when the suspects voluntarily turned themselves in on Monday, a statement from the Office of Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes said.
A Salvadoran judge will now have to decide if the accused will be extradited to Spain.
Salvadoran soldiers shot the priests at their home at a local university on the night of Nov. 16, 1989, to silence their strong criticism of rights abuses committed by the army during the 12-year civil war that ended in 1992.
Five of the priests were Spanish and one was Salvadoran.
The residence's housekeeper and her teenage daughter were also killed in the attack in the capital, San Salvador, which drew worldwide condemnation at the time.
The soldiers, recruited at military barracks in San Salvador, denied accusations against them.
The Jesuit murders highlighted the brutality of one of the Cold War's harshest conflicts. Some 75,000 people had been killed and some 8,000 disappeared during the war.
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