MADRID, 6 Jun. (EUROPA PRESS) -
The El Salvador Prosecutor's Office has affirmed this Monday that former President Alfredo Cristiani (1989-1994) authorized the murder of six Jesuit priests -five of them Spanish- and two women perpetrated by soldiers in 1989.
According to the Public Ministry, which has accused seven other people, the former president participated in the meeting in which the military operation was coordinated and ordered, as several witnesses have recounted.
The crimes of which they are accused are homicide, acts of terrorism, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism, procedural fraud and personal concealment, since former deputy Rodolfo Parker tried to cover up those responsible when he acted as a lawyer.
The other defendants are soldiers who held high command at the time of the massacre, identified as Juan Rafael Bustillo, Juan Orlando Zepeda, Rafael Humerto Larios, Inocente Orlando Montano, Carlos Camilo Hernández and Nelson Iván López, reports 'La Prensa Gráfica'.
The massacre took place on the UCA campus in San Salvador, the country's capital. Among the victims is the ideologue of Liberation Theology, the Spanish Ignacio Ellacuría, then rector of the UCA, with whom Cristiani had several telephone calls prior to the massacre, according to the investigation.
The Spaniards Ignacio Martín Baró (vice-rector), Segundo Montes, Amando López and Juan Ramón Moreno also died, as well as the Salvadorans Joaquín López, Elba Ramos and their daughter Celina. All of them were killed in the middle of a guerrilla offensive on San Salvador by soldiers from the Atlacatl battalion of the Salvadoran Army.
In September 1991, a court tried nine soldiers who were listed as material authors without taking into account the intellectual authors, according to humanitarian organizations. Colonel Guillermo Alfredo Benavides was found guilty of all the murders and Lieutenant Yusshy René Mendoza was held responsible for the death of the minor Celina.
The case was reopened in January 2022 to try the alleged masterminds. The civil war ended on January 16, 1992 with the signing of peace agreements between the government and the guerrillas of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front. The conflict left more than 75,000 dead, 7,000 disappeared and millions in losses in the economy.
The case has also had its judicial journey in Spain and in September 2020 the National Court sentenced Colonel Inocente Orlando Montano Morales to 133 years in prison.