World

Spanish court gives go-ahead to investigate slaying of Jesuit priests in El Salvador

July 1980:  Young people, many of them students, being lined up against a wall and searched by members of the El Salvadorean Army during unrest in the capital San Salvador.  (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

July 1980: Young people, many of them students, being lined up against a wall and searched by members of the El Salvadorean Army during unrest in the capital San Salvador. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

A Spanish court has ruled that the European country has jurisdiction to investigate the killings of six Jesuit priests, a domestic worker and her teenage daughter by soldiers during El Salvador's 1980-92 civil war.

El Salvador's Human Rights Commission director, Miguel Montenegro, says he's pleased that Spain will seek justice for the "horrendous crime" and help "end the impunity that our country has seen."

Five of the priests were Spaniards; the other one was Salvadoran. They died Nov. 16, 1989, when soldiers forced them to kneel in the yard of their home on a Roman Catholic university campus and then shot each of them in the head.

Nine soldiers were prosecuted. But in 1991 a jury acquitted seven of them and the other two benefited from an amnesty in 1993.

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