August 18, 2016 / 1:21 AM / 3 years ago

El Salvador court denies extradition of former colonel to Spain

Guillermo Alfredo Benavides, who is part of 17 former military personnel accused of killing six Jesuit priests in 1989, waits in court to be notified of Spanish judge Eloy Velasco's request to extradite to Spain, in San Salvador, El Salvador April 28, 2016. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - El Salvador’s Supreme Court has denied an extradition request from Spain for a former military colonel to face charges related to the 1989 murder of a group of Jesuit priests including five who were Spanish born, a magistrate said.

The court ruled unanimously to send former Colonel Guillermo Benavides to prison in El Salvador, Supreme Court magistrate Leonardo Ramirez said.

Benavides could now be judged in the Central American country after an amnesty law for crimes committed its 1980 to 1992 civil war was struck down this year.

Ramirez added that deliberations over three other retired military personnel were ongoing.

Spanish judge Eloy Velasco in January sent a request for the capture and extradition of 17 former military personnel who were allegedly involved in killing the priests, five of whom were Spanish.

Reporting by Nelson Renteria

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