Ex-Salvadoran Colonel Is Ordered to Pay for Crimes Against Humanity
A federal jury in Memphis yesterday found a former military colonel from El Salvador responsible for crimes against humanity during that country's civil war in the 1980's and ordered him to pay $6 million in damages.
The nine-member jury found that the colonel, Nicolás Carranza, had "command responsibility" for the torture of a Salvadoran who was forced to confess falsely to killing an American military adviser, Lt. Cmdr. Albert Schaufelberger, in 1983.
Colonel Carranza was the vice minister of defense, El Salvador's second-highest military commander, from 1979 to 1981, and in 1983 he was head of the Treasury Police, the most notoriously violent of the country's security forces.
Mr. Carranza, who moved to Memphis in 1985 and is now an American citizen, testified that he was a paid informant for the Central Intelligence Agency for two decades, including the years that were the focus of the trial. His tie to the agency was corroborated at the trial by the American ambassador to El Salvador at the time, Robert White.
The verdict was a victory for human rights groups that have been seeking to prosecute foreign military commanders linked to rights violations, especially from the wars in Central America, who have settled in the United States.
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