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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 December 2006, 07:25 GMT
Spain seeks Guatemalan ex-rulers
Rigoberta Menchu
Rigoberta Menchu wants Guatemalan abuses investigated
Spain has called for the extradition from Guatemala of seven former members of that country's government on charges of genocide and torture.

Human rights groups want the seven - including two former military rulers - to face trial in Spain.

Guatemala has rejected extradition requests made this year.

Spain's highest court has ruled that cases of genocide committed abroad could be judged in Spain, even if no Spanish citizens have been involved.

The seven men sought by Madrid include former military rulers Efrain Rios Montt and Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores.

They are wanted in connection with a series of kidnappings, mass murders and torture of Mayan Indians committed during Guatemalan's 36-year-long civil war, which ended 10 years ago.

They have faced charges in Spain since 1999, when the Guatemalan indigenous leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu presented a complaint against them.

BBC regional analyst Emilio San Pedro says she filed the complaint in Spain because prosecutions of crimes committed during the civil war are practically impossible in Guatemala.

More than 200,000 people, the majority of them indigenous peasants, are estimated to have died during the conflict.

Similar requests made by Spain earlier this year have so far failed to produce any results - although two of the seven men are in custody in Guatemala.

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09 Jun 05 |  Americas
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11 Oct 05 |  Country profiles

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