Sunday, February 19, 2006

Conviction in Soto murder trial

Only one defendant has been convicted for the murder of US Teamster Gilberto Soto. The verdict is reported in La Prensa Grafica. The court did not convict the other two defendants, including Soto's mother-in-law who had been accused of ordering the killing.

Gilberto Soto was gunned down outside his mother's home in Usulutan, El Salvador. Soto was a US citizen and a Teamster. Soto had gone to his native El Salvador to investigate the working conditions of truck drivers at the ports. He was shot in the back as he talked on a cellphone outside his boyhood home.

Salvadoran authorities eventually arrested some gang members and Soto's mother-in-law, the supposed "intellectual author" of the crime, and called the murder a family dispute. This theory has never satisfied Soto's family or the Teamsters, and many questions have remained.

The La Prensa Grafica story does not have a description of the testimony in the trial or an explanation of what role the convicted defendant played in the murder. This outcome is unlikely to satisfy the many critics of the Salvadoran government who assert it never investigated the possibility that Soto was murdered for his union organizing activities.

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