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Guatemalan massacre trial underway

By the CNN Wire Staff
(L to R) Daniel Martinez, Carlos Carias, Manuel Pop and Reyes Collin wait in court during their trial, in Guatemala City, on July 26.
(L to R) Daniel Martinez, Carlos Carias, Manuel Pop and Reyes Collin wait in court during their trial, in Guatemala City, on July 26.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Some 250 people were killed in 1982 in the village of Dos Erres
  • Four soldiers are on trial in Guatemala
  • They have pleaded not guilty
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(CNN) -- Arguments and testimony were continuing Wednesday in one of Guatemala's first major trials against dictorship-era ex-soldiers.

Survivors testified in court on Tuesday about what they witnessed during the 1982 massacre at the village of Dos Erres where 250 people were killed.

The four soldiers on trial -- Carlos Antonio Carias Lopez, Reyes Collin Guali, Daniel Martinez Mendez and Manuel Pop Sun -- are accused of more than 200 of the killings, which occurred during Guatemala's bloody civil war. Among their alleged victims are men, women and children, prosecutors say.

More than 200,000 people were killed or "disappeared" between 1966 and 1996, the United Nations estimates.

All four soldiers pleaded not guilty.

On Tuesday, villagers testified about the disappearance of their families at the hands of the army, according to the state-run AGN news agency.

Petronila Lopez Mendez, 65, told the court that she lost her husband and two teenage sons in the massacre, and she accused Carias of withholding information about their whereabouts in the aftermath of the incident, AGN reported.

She testified that she paid Carias money in exchange for her family, but they never reappeared.

Another witness was Felicitia Helenia Ramirez, who lost her parents in the massacre and said that when she snuck back into the village, she found it burned to the ground, AGN reported.

"What I found was clothes strewn all over the place... the only thing that I took with me was a photo of my mom," she said.

Another soldier suspected of involvement in the massacre -- Pedro Pimentel Rios -- was deported from the United States this month. A trial date has not been set yet in that case.

 
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