Page last updated at 22:36 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 23:36 UK

Guatemala jails five for massacre

A court in Guatemala has sentenced five former paramilitaries each to 780 years in prison for the 1982 murder of 26 indigenous Mayan villagers.

They received the maximum sentence of 30 years for each of the murders which took place during an infamous massacre of 177 women and children in Rio Negro.

The victims died refusing to move from the site of a new hydroelectric dam.

Guatemala was fighting a civil war at the time in which 200,000 people either died or disappeared.

The five former members of the Civilian Self-Defence Patrols force were also ordered to pay compensation to the relatives of the victims.

Their defence is expected to lodge an appeal against the sentences.

A sixth defendant in the trial, which began in 2004, was acquitted for lack of evidence.

Three paramilitaries were earlier convicted of a role in the massacre while warrants have been issued for three others.

Guatemalan massacre trial starts
20 Oct 04 |  Americas
Guatemala to pay paramilitaries
20 Aug 04 |  Americas
Guatemala officer guilty of murder
04 Oct 02 |  Americas
Timeline: Guatemala
11 Jul 03 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Guatemala
11 Jul 03 |  Country profiles

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