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August 28, 2013

Ex-Salvadoran military leader gets 21 months in US

BOSTON (AP) — A former Salvadoran military colonel who faces war crimes accusations has been sentenced to 21 months in prison on U.S. immigration charges.

Seventy-year-old Inocente (in-oh-SENT’-ay) Orlando Montano was sentenced Tuesday in Boston after a plea that followed his 2011 arrest in Massachusetts.

He was once El Salvador’s vice minister of public security, but had been living in a Boston suburb for about a decade and making $14 an hour in a candy factory.

A United Nations commission previously named him a participant in a meeting to plot the slaying of a priest suspected of supporting rebels. That meeting allegedly led to the 1989 slayings of six priests and two other people in El Salvador.

Montano has denied involvement in the killings, but Spanish authorities indicted him in 2011 in connection with the so-called Jesuit massacre.

After Tuesday’s sentencing, Montano said through a Spanish translator that he was satisfied with the sentence and hadn’t decided if he would appeal. His penalty also includes a year of supervised release.

Prosecutors had asked for a prison sentence of more than four years, saying Montano emigrated to the U.S. in part to avoid potential prosecution for the Jesuit massacre in El Salvador.

His attorney asked for probation, saying Montano had no fear of prosecution in El Salvador because of an amnesty law.

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