Suspected Guatemalan War Criminal Faces Immigration Fraud Charge in US

9/25/2012

A former Guatemalan solider accused of taking part in a brutal massacre during the Central American nation's long-lasting and bloody civil war was extradited to the U.S. where he faces immigration fraud charges.

José Sosa Orantes was turned over Friday by officials in Canada, where he had been in custody since last year on U.S. charges of lying about his role in Guatemala's war when he applied for American citizenship in 2008, federal authorities said.

Sosa was a member of a Guatemalan military unit known as the "kaibiles" and helped command a unit assigned to track down suspected guerrillas who had stolen military weapons, according to court documents.

Guatemala's civil war, which lasted more than three decades, claimed at least 200,000 lives before it ended in 1996. The U.S.-backed army was responsible for most of the deaths, according to a truth commission set up to investigate the bloodshed.

According to a 2009 federal grand jury indictment, Sosa and dozens of other soldiers stormed the village of Dos Erres in 1982 and allegedly killed men, women and children as they search for missing weapons. Soldiers bludgeoned villagers with a sledgehammer, threw them into a well, and raped women and girls before killing them, court papers said. More than 150 people died.

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