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MADRID — Spain’s National Court on Monday kicked off the trial of two former Salvadoran military men for their alleged involvement in the massacre of five Spanish priests in El Salvador more than three decades ago.

Inocente Orlando Montano, a former colonel who served as El Salvador’s vice minister for public security during the country’s 1979-92 civil war, faces up to 150 years of imprisonment for the slayings in 1989.

The United States extradited Montano to Spain in 2017 to face charges of terrorist murder and crimes against humanity.

Montano, who is in his 70s and in frail health, is set to testify this week.

Prosecutors have also asked for five years of imprisonment — one for each of the killings — for Rene Yusshy Mendoza, an army lieutenant and member of the Atlacatl battalion that allegedly killed the priests at the Central American University in San Salvador.

Mendoza has confessed to the crime. During Monday’s opening session of the trial in Madrid, his lawyer argued that Mendoza should be excluded from the case under the statute of limitations.

Print Headline: Spain opens trial on priest killings in El Salvador

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