Judge clears way for ex-Salvadoran to face charges in Spain

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A judge has ruled that a former Salvadoran colonel can be extradited to Spain to face charges that he helped plan the slayings of priests in 1989 during El Salvador's civil war.

United States Magistrate Judge Kimberly Swank granted the government's extradition request for Inocente Orlando Montano Morales in a ruling filed Friday.

Swank ordered that U.S. Marshals take custody of Montano so he can be turned over to Spain, pending final approval by the Secretary of State.

Spain, the native country of five of the six slain priests, indicted Montano and other officers in the killings. Montano has been the only one in Spain's reach because of El Salvador's amnesty law.

Montano has denied involvement in the killings, and his lawyers have questioned the evidence in the case.