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Tuesday, 7 December, 1999, 01:02 GMT
Guatemalan court overturns soldiers' conviction




An appeal court in Guatemala has ordered the release of 16 soldiers convicted earlier this year of killing a group of indigenous Indians at the end of the civil war.

It overturned convictions against the sixteen, including their commander, but increased the sentences on ten others.

Afterwards, the human rights activist and Nobel peace prize winner, Rigoberta Menchu, said the ruling showed the absence of justice in Guatemala.

Correspondents say the Guatemalan armed forces have been linked to hundreds of massacres during the thirty-six-year-long civil war, but this is the first such case to come to trial.

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