Guatemalan Court Convicts Ex-Dictator On Genocide Charges

Former dictator Rios Montt has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for genocide and an additional 30 years for crimes against humanity.

Moises Castillo / AP

Guatemala’s former dictator Jose Efrain Rios Montt speaks during his genocide trial in Guatemala City, Thursday, May 9, 2013.

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A Guatemalan court has convicted former dictator Efrain Rios Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, sentencing him to 80 years in prison.

The 86-year-old former general is the first former Latin American leader ever found guilty of such a charge.

A three-judge tribunal issued the verdict after the nearly two-month trial in which dozens of victims testified about horrific atrocities.

Updates from Xeni Jardin in the court room in Guatemala:

Surreal scene around defense. Huge mob of photogs swarming Rios Montt, aiming their cameras down at him as if guns; he shrinks beneath them.

— xeni (@Xeni Jardin)

Orange wall of police stand between Ríos Montt and judges.

— xeni (@Xeni Jardin)

Judge Barrios, behind orange line of special forces police, waiting for Ríos Montt to be picked up, taken to prison

— xeni (@Xeni Jardin)

Judge: “The police have him now. The courts order has been fulfilled.” Crowd erupts into cheers: JUSTICIA JUSTICIA JUSTICIA

— xeni (@Xeni Jardin)

Many of the Ixil women were weeping after the verdict and sentence were delivered.

— xeni (@Xeni Jardin)

Mood inside courtroom after verdict was euphoria, grief, hope among Ixiles and other victims; those who supported Ríos Montt are very angry.

— xeni (@Xeni Jardin)

Even as the crowd sang and wept with joy, there was a man not with the press, filming them close, with clear purpose of threat.

— xeni (@Xeni Jardin)

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Michael Rusch is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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