On 20 September 2020, the Criminal Chamber of the Spanish National Court sentenced Inocente Orlando Montano to 133 years, 6 months, and 5 days of imprisonment for the commission of five murders, characterised as acts of terrorism. Montano will effectively remain detained for total of 30 years, the maximum punishment permitted under Spanish criminal law.
On 6 November 2020, Montano's defence appealed this judgment before the Second Chamber of the Spanish Supreme Court, claiming that there had been a violation of certain constitutional precepts in relation to his right to effective judicial protection and the presumption of innocence, as well as an error in the assessment of the evidence or substantial matters. Following this appeal, the Chamber set that its deliberation would take place on 28 January 2021.
Today, on 3 February 2021, the Second Chamber of the Spanish Supreme Court – composed of Justices Manuel Marchena Gómez, Antonio del Moral García, Pablo Llarena Conde, Vicente Magro Servet and Eduardo de Porres Ortiz de Urbina - rejected the 14 grounds of appeal put forward by Montano's defence, dismissing the appeal and upholding the conviction and sentence in its entirety. In line with the lower court judgment, the Spanish Supreme Court recognised Montano’s responsibility for the crimes as an indirect co-perpetrator who operated through an organized apparatus of power. Furthermore, the Court also confirmed its decision to consider Professor Terry Karl’s intelligence reports as expert evidence, among other contentious issues raised by the defence.
This appeal represented the defence’s last resort to challenge his conviction imposed in the trial judgment for the massacre of the six Jesuit priests and two women in El Salvador on 16 November 1989.
At Guernica, we are pleased to announce this historically important news with a view to culminating the justice efforts leveraged, both nationally and internationally, by the popular accusation led by Almudena Bernabeu and Manuel Ollé. This final judgment represents an appeal for the hope of the Salvadoran people who so for long have yearned for peace and justice, putting an end to the reigning impunity that has prevailed in the country ever since this brutal and senseless act.