Guatemala sentences 5 ex-patrol members for 1982 rapes

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GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A court in Guatemala sentenced five fomer members of a pro-government “civilian patrol” to 30 years in prison Monday in connection with the rape of Indigenous women during the Central American country’s civil war.

The patrols functioned as pro-government militias to help the army fight leftist guerrillas, and like the army they faced widespread accusations of committing atrocities.

Guatemala’s 1960-1996 civil war pitted the army and police against leftist rebels, and resulted in more than 200,000 deaths.

The five ex-patrol members were directly accused of raping five women of the Achí group in the village of Rabinal in 1982.

An additional 29 women said patrol members had participated in killings or kidnappings, but did not directly identify the five defendants as the perpetrators.

Judge Gelvi Sical said the victims “have waited years to break the silence, be heard and demand justice.”

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