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Former Guatemalan Soldiers Sentenced in Civil War Trial


Former special forces soldier Carlos Antonio Carias, center, gestures to his lawyer after being sentenced at the end of his trial in Guatemala City, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011

Former special forces soldier Carlos Antonio Carias, center, gestures to his lawyer after being sentenced at the end of his trial in Guatemala City, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011

A Guatemalan court Tuesday sentenced four former soldiers to 6,060 years in prison each for the 1982 massacre of 201 men, women and children during the Guatemalan civil war. The court sentenced them to 30 years for each person killed, plus an additional 30 years for each murder as a crime against humanity.

The length of the sentences is viewed as largely symbolic. Guatemalan law limits the time a convict can serve to 50 years.

Former Lieutenant Carlos Antonio Carias received an additional six years for stealing the victims' belongings.

The killings took place over the course of three days in December 1982 as part of Guatemala's 1960-1996 civil war. Witnesses say the victims included pregnant women, children and the elderly. The only survivors were several children.

Judge Jazmin Barrios called the killings "perverse" and said they "erased from the map" the village of Dos Erres.

Guatemala's civil war led to nearly a quarter of one million deaths. Thousands of people remain missing.

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