Human rights advocates called it a step toward justice Tuesday when a federal judge in Boston sentenced a Salvadoran ex-colonel to prison on separate charges as Spain attempts to prosecute him for war crimes during his country's civil conflict.
Inocente Orlando Montano will serve 21 months in a federal prison for immigration crimes, followed by a year of supervised release if U.S. government officials don't extradite him to Spain before then to stand trial for his alleged role in priest slayings known as the Jesuit massacre.
U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock meted out the penalty after a three-day sentencing hearing that included testimony implicating Montano in human rights abuses in El Salvador.
The 70-year-old Montano, who denies such abuses, was once his country's vice minister of public security. He had been living in a Boston suburb for about a decade before his 2011 arrest, making $14 an hour in a candy factory.
Montano admitted to lying on immigration forms, pleading guilty to three counts of immigration fraud and three counts of perjury. He also agreed not to contest deportation proceedings to return him to El Salvador after his prison term.