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Guatemala 1982 Massacre Trial Begins


From left to right, Daniel Martinez, Carlos Antonio Carias, Manuel Pop Sun, and Reyes Collin Gualip, sit in the courtroom during the first day of their trial in Guatemala City, July 25, 2011

From left to right, Daniel Martinez, Carlos Antonio Carias, Manuel Pop Sun, and Reyes Collin Gualip, sit in the courtroom during the first day of their trial in Guatemala City, July 25, 2011

Four Guatemalan soldiers proclaimed their innocence on the opening day of trial Monday for a 1982 massacre that claimed at least 250 lives.

The massacre took place in the village of Dos Erres. The four defendants say they were stationed elsewhere at the time of the attack.

The trial in Guatemala City is the latest effort to hold officials accountable for war crimes that happened during the 1966-1996 civil war. The war was fought between leftist guerrillas and the government.

The United Nations says the Guatemalan civil war led to more than 200,000 deaths and disappearances.

Earlier this month, the United States deported former Guatemalan military officer Pedro Pimental Rios for his alleged role in the Dos Erres massacre. The Guatemalan government says it will hold a separate hearing for Rios.

Last year, Gilberto Jordan received a 10-year prison sentence in Florida for failing to disclose his role in the massacre in his U.S. citizenship application.

Another man, Santos Lopez Alonzo was arrested last year in Houston and charged with reentering the United States after being deported. A fourth person, Jorge Vincio Sosa Orantes, faces criminal charges in Los Angeles for naturalization fraud. He is awaiting extradition to the United States following his January arrest in Canada.

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