Accused Guatemalan war criminal to be extradited
A Calgary judge has ordered that an accused Guatemalan war criminal alleged to have killed villagers with a sledgehammer be extradited to the United States to face immigration charges.
Jorge Vinicio Orantes Sosa, who holds both Canadian and American citizenship, has been in custody since January.
Sosa, 53, is also wanted by Guatemalan authorities for allegedly participating in attacks on a village in 1982 in which 251 men, women and children were massacred.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Neil Wittman ruled that the burden of proof has been met to approve a request from the U.S. Justice Department to return Jorge Vinicio Orantes Sosa to stand trial.
Whittman said there is evidence to deport Sosa on charges of immigration fraud because the man made false statements about his military past in Guatemala to mislead U.S. Immigration officials.
An arrest warrant for murder was issued for Sosa in Guatemala years ago for allegedly participating in the 1982 attacks. They allegedly happened during the Guatemalan civil war and under the de facto presidency of General Efrain Rios Montt.
An indictment by the United States District Court for the Central District of California alleges that Sosa was the commanding officer of a special patrol that systematically killed people in the village of Dos Erres.
Sosa is also accused of lying when he applied for U.S. citizenship, saying he had never committed any crime or offence and that he was not a member in a foreign military.
He was well-known in the United States as a martial arts instructor. He has taught self defence and there are several videos of him plying his craft available on the Internet.
Sosa was arrested by police in Lethbridge, Alta., in January where he was visiting family.
With files from the CBC's Bryan Labby and The Canadian Press