GUATEMALA CITY, Aug. 11 (UPI) — The United States deported a Guatemalan man accused of helping facilitate the massacre of 160 villagers as a solider in Guatemala’s civil war in the 1980s.
Guatemalan prosecutors say 64-year-old Santos Lopez Alonzo served in an elite army unit that carried out a massacre in 1982. Lopez Alonzo has denied the charges, saying he guarded women and children during the massacre, and killed no one.
In the massacre, a squad of elite soldiers was deployed to search for missing weapons in a village, but the group rounded up villagers and beat them to death before throwing their bodies into a well.
Three other members of the unit Lopez Alonzo is accused of belonging to are serving prison sentences. Two are imprisoned in the United States for immigration crimes and one was deported to Guatemala, where he is serving a 6,000-year sentence.
Lopez Alonzo was arrested in the United States in 2010. He fought deportation for years but a federal appeals court in July refused his request to remain in the United States.
The United Nations estimates more than 250,000 civilians were killed or disappeared during Guatemala’s 36-year civil war. A U.N. commission in 1999 concluded that Guatemalan army and state security agents were responsible for over 90 percent of the killings.