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Former Salvadoran defense minister deported from U.S. for human rights abuses

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  A Honduran immigration detainee, his feet shackled and shoes laceless as a security precaution, boards a deportation flight to San Pedro Sula, Honduras on February 28, 2013 in Mesa, Arizona. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), operates 4-5 flights per week from Mesa to Central America, deporting hundreds of undocumented immigrants detained in western states of the U.S. With the possibility of federal budget sequestration, Most detainees typically remain in custody for several weeks before they are deported to their home country, while others remain for longer periods while their immigration cases work through the courts.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 28: A Honduran immigration detainee, his feet shackled and shoes laceless as a security precaution, boards a deportation flight to San Pedro Sula, Honduras on February 28, 2013 in Mesa, Arizona. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), operates 4-5 flights per week from Mesa to Central America, deporting hundreds of undocumented immigrants detained in western states of the U.S. With the possibility of federal budget sequestration, Most detainees typically remain in custody for several weeks before they are deported to their home country, while others remain for longer periods while their immigration cases work through the courts. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)  (2013 Getty Images)

A former El Salvador defense minister has been deported from the U.S. for his role in human rights abuses several decades ago.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Nestor Yglesias said Friday former Gen. José Guillermo García-Merino was flown on a charter plane from the U.S. to San Salvador, El Salvador. García-Merino was arrested last month in Florida.

The removal of the 82-year-old Garcia-Merino came after an immigration appeals panel on Dec. 8 upheld a previous 2014 deportation order. An immigration judge then found García-Merino assisted or participated in numerous acts of torture and extrajudicial killings in El Salvador while he was in command.

García-Merino was El Salvador defense minister from 1979 to 1983 during a civil war that killed an estimated 70,000 civilians.

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