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. posted on

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:

Rios Montt sentenced to 50 years in prison for genocide, and an additional 30 years for crimes against humanity.

House arrest for Rios Montt, 86, has been revoked. He is ordered to be taken directly to prison. For 80 years.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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