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Spanish court OKs extradition for former Guatemalan minister

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Carlos Vielmann faces murder charges in Guatemala
  • A court on Tuesday approved the extradition
  • Vielmann has the option to appeal, and the government has the final say

(CNN) -- A Spanish court on Tuesday approved the extradition of former Guatemalan Interior Minister Carlos Vielmann to his homeland to face 10 murder charges stemming from incidents at two prisons there.

Vielmann, who holds dual Guatemalan and Spanish citizenship, has the option to appeal the ruling. The final decision on extradition lies with the Spanish government.

What the court found Tuesday was that the Guatemalan request for extradition to face murder charges was approved under an extradition treaty between the two countries. In addition to the murder charges, the Guatemalan government cited charges of illicit association and extrajudicial killings as reasons for extradition, but the Spanish court found that those charges were not covered by the treaty.

Vielmann faces charges in both Spain and Guatemala stemming from the same incident, a 2006 uprising at the El Pavon prison in Guatemala where seven inmates were killed.

The Interior Ministry and police said at the time that the prisoners were killed during a violent confrontation with prison authorities. However, a report by the Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman's Office concluded the prisoners had been executed.

Vielmann is wanted in Guatemala in connection with the seven killings. He also has been accused of ordering the killings of three inmates who escaped from El Infiernito prison in 2005.

He was arrested in Spain in October 2010, and has been on provisional release since November.

CNN's Al Goodman contributed to this report.