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Former Guatemalan Special Forces Soldier Sentenced to 6,000 Years in Prison
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Pedro Pimentel Rios, a former member of a Guatemalan military force, was sentenced to 6,060 years in prison on Monday for taking part in the murder of 201 people in a massacre in 1982. He was extradited from the United States in July. He was the fifth member of the special forces team that took part in what is known as the ‘Dos Erres’ massacre, named after the hamlet where the murders occurred. They took place during the Guatemalan civil war, which lasted from 1960-1996.

According to Guatemalan law, the maximum amount of time someone can serve for a crime is 50 years, so the 6,060 year sentence is a first for the country. The sentence was issued by a panel of three judges. The sentence is for 30 years for each person killed and an additional 30 years for crimes against humanity. Pimentel Rios worked as an instructor at a training school that was for an elite military force called the ‘kaibiles.’ Pimentel Rios is 54.

  
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Pimentel Rios was living in Santa Ana, California for quite some time and was working in a sweater factory until he was arrested by immigration authorities in May of 2010. Pimentel Rios was extradited from the United States to Guatemala in 2011. Before the Guatemalan civil war ended in 1996, at least 200,000 people were killed. The killings were investigated by a truth commission, which found that the army backed by the United States was responsible for the majority of the deaths during the civil war.

The village of Dos Erres was stormed in December of 1982 by a couple dozen soldiers and searched homes for missing weapons. While performing the search the soldiers killed men, women and children. Court papers that were filed in a case issued by prosecutors from the U.S. against another member of the kaibiles detail the killings. The soldiers would bludgeon the villagers with a sledgehammer and then throw them down a well. The women and girls were raped before they were killed by the soldiers. An investigation was started by Guatemalan officials in 1994, which helped to discover 162 skeletons. A couple of years after the investigation began, arrest warrants were issued for 17 kaibiles but the cases went on for years.

A court in Guatemala sentenced three other former members of the special forces team to 6,060 years in prison in August of 2011 for the killings. A former army second lieutenant received a 6,066-year sentence.  The trial for Pimentel Rios took place at a court located in Guatemala City.

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