SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Three former Salvadoran military officers who Spanish courts wanted to put on trial for their alleged roles in the killing of six Jesuit priests were freed from prison late Friday after the Supreme Court denied their extradition, their lawyers said.
The court had decided to deny their extradition earlier this month, but they were not freed until Friday.
Lawyer Carlos Guzman Segovia criticized the court for the delay and warned of further legal action.
Former sergeants Tomas Zarpate Castillo and Antonio Ramiro Avalos Vargas, as well as Cpl. Angel Perez Vasquez were released. Col. Guillermo Alfredo Benavides remained in custody.
The court decided Benavides should resume serving a 30-year sentence that was imposed in 1991 for his role in the killings, but suspended under a general amnesty in 1993.
They were accused of involvement in the 1989 killing of six priests, five of whom were Spanish, and two of their employees at their residence on the campus of Central American University.
The Spanish court altogether had requested the extradition of 17 former military men. Twelve remain fugitives and the court has not decided on the requests for their extradition. An additional one is in custody in the U.S. awaiting extradition to Spain. The four who were in held in El Salvador were captured in February.
The killings occurred during El Salvador’s civil war.