Born-Again Killer Rios Montt Runs for Congress in Guatemala

Former Guatemalan dictator General Jose Efrain Rios Montt, who prosecuted a Reagan administration-supported war of genocide against the Mayan population, on January 17, 2007 announced that he plans to run for Congress in September.

This would provide him with immunity from prosecution on the charges of genocide and other violations of human rights during the country’s 36-year civil war, according to SOA (School of Americas) Watch.

Members of the country’s Congress enjoy immunity from prosecution unless they are suspended from office by a court. “I am certain and sure” of getting a seat in Congress, Rios Montt, told a news conference. Rios Montt, who continues to be an influential and powerful politician in Guatemala, ran for the presidency in 2004 and finished third (Associated Press, January 17).

The Spanish National Court has charged the former dictator, who attended a “special course” in the 1950 at the SOA (now called WHINSEC – the ñWestern Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), with the crimes of genocide, torture, terrorism and illegal detention. In July 2006, Spanish Judge Santiago Pedraz issued warrants for the arrest of General RĠos Montt and several other former senior officials.

“The Guatemalan authorities subsequently took some of the accused into custody in order to ensure that they would not flee the country,” according to Amnesty International. “However, General RĠos Montt remains free. Strong international pressure is needed to ensure that all either face trial in Guatemala or are extradited to Spain.”

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