Connect to share and comment

Guatemalan ex-dictator hospitalized after genocide conviction


Guatemala City, May 13 (EFE).- Guatemalan former dictator Efrain Rios Montt, facing 80 years in prison for genocide and crimes against humanity, was hospitalized Monday after collapsing on his way to a court hearing, his lawyer said.

Rios Montt fell ill while being transported from Matamoros prison, where he taken last Friday after the verdict, to a courtroom in the capital, attorney Francisco Garcia Gudiel told Efe.

The 86-year-old retired general was rushed to the Military Hospital.

Dr. Carlos Alvarez described Rios Montt's condition as stable, attributing his collapse to a "hypertension crisis" brought on by stress.

Guatemala's one-time ruler could remain hospitalized for up to a week, the doctor said.

Rios Montt was convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for the deaths of 1,771 Ixil Indians between March 1982 and August 1983 as part of a counter-insurgency campaign.

Monday's court hearing was to address the question of monetary reparations for the slaughter.

The former dictator's attorneys plan to appeal the conviction.

This is the first time any Guatemalan ruler has been called to account for the massacres and atrocities of the country's 1960-1996 civil war.

Rios Montt presided over the bloodiest phase of a conflict that claimed more than 200,000 lives. Most of the dead were Indian peasants slaughtered by the army and its paramilitary allies.