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Guatemala's Ríos Montt Released From Hospital; Remains Under House Arrest

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2013 file photo, Guatemala's former dictator Efrain Rios Montt (1982-1983) leaves the courtroom after his pre-trial hearing in Guatemala City. With his trial set to start Tuesday, March 19, 2013, prosecutors hope to painstakingly prove through a detailed recreation of the military chain of command that Rios Montt must have had knowledge of the massacres of Mayan Indians and others in the Guatemalan highlands. Because he held absolute power over the U.S.-backed military government, his failure to stop the slaughter is proof of his guilt, prosecutors and lawyers for victims say. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2013 file photo, Guatemala's former dictator Efrain Rios Montt (1982-1983) leaves the courtroom after his pre-trial hearing in Guatemala City. With his trial set to start Tuesday, March 19, 2013, prosecutors hope to painstakingly prove through a detailed recreation of the military chain of command that Rios Montt must have had knowledge of the massacres of Mayan Indians and others in the Guatemalan highlands. Because he held absolute power over the U.S.-backed military government, his failure to stop the slaughter is proof of his guilt, prosecutors and lawyers for victims say. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File)  ((AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File))

Former U.S.-backed Guatemalan strongman Efraín Ríos Montt was released from a Guatemalan military hospital where he was taken last month shortly after being put in prison to begin an 80-year sentence for genocide and crimes against humanity.

Defense lawyer Francisco Palomo said the 86-year-old retired army general was moved to house arrest.

Guatemala's Constitutional Court overturned Ríos Montt's conviction a few days after he was hospitalized and ordered his trial to resume to where it stood on April 19 to solve several pending appeals. The trial has yet to restart.

"He left the hospital because he is feeling better, but he still has to have some medical procedures done," Palomo said.

A three-judge panel on May 10 convicted Ríos Montt of genocide and crimes against humanity for his role in massacres of Mayans during Guatemala's civil war. It found he knew about the slaughter of at least 1,771 Ixil Mayans in the western highlands and didn't stop it.

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On May 20, the country's top court overturned the conviction, throwing into disarray proceedings that had been hailed as historic for delivering the first such guilty verdict for a Latin American leader.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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