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Guatemalan Gen. Mejia Victores Dies

  • Associated Press

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2001 file photo, former Guatemalan head of state, Army Gen. Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores, waits to testify as Maria Emilia Garcia, left, holds the photo of her son, union leader Fernando Garcia, at a tribunal in Guatemala City.

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2001 file photo, former Guatemalan head of state, Army Gen. Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores, waits to testify as Maria Emilia Garcia, left, holds the photo of her son, union leader Fernando Garcia, at a tribunal in Guatemala City.

Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores, a Guatemalan general who seized power in a 1983 coup and was the country's de facto leader until 1986, has died after a long illness. He was 85.

Moises Galindo is a lawyer for several former military officials accused of abuses during Guatemala's civil war. Galindo said Mejia Victores died Monday.

Prosecutors had accused the ex-general of genocide for the killing of thousands of indigenous Guatemalans by soldiers under his command. But he was ruled unfit to stand trial.

During his de facto government Mejia Victores convened an assembly to write a new constitution that is still in effect today. He also paved the way for elections in January 1986 that led to the first president of Guatemala's democratic era.

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