Ex-Guatemalan leader denies knowledge of alleged executions

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Former Guatemalan president Oscar Berger has told a Madrid court he had no knowledge of an alleged plan to execute 10 prisoners in his country a decade ago.

Berger testified Tuesday as a defense witness in the trial of his former interior minister Carlos Vielmann, who denies overseeing the summary execution of inmates at two Guatemalan prisons between 2005 and 2006.

State and private prosecutors allege that, on one occasion, seven people died when security forces stormed the Pavon prison to quell a mutiny. Vielmann has previously said the prisoners died while fighting security forces.

Vielmann, who has Spanish nationality, faces up to 40 years in jail if found guilty. He was arrested in Madrid in 2010 after a United Nations-backed commission linked him to the deaths.