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Dec 4, 12:16 PM EST

Ex-colonel denies role in priests' slayings in El Salvador


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MADRID (AP) -- Lawyers say a former Salvadoran colonel has denied being involved in the massacre of five Spanish priests in El Salvador 28 years ago.

Two lawyers familiar with the proceedings said Inocente Orlando Montano told a Spanish National Court judge Monday that no mention of plans to assassinate the priests was made during a Nov. 15, 1989 meeting he attended.

Father Ignacio Ellacuria and five other Jesuit priests were killed the next day along with their housekeeper and her daughter. Ellacuria was mediating talks at the time to end the Salvadoran civil war.

The lawyers spoke anonymously in line with court rules.

The United States extradited Montano to Spain last week to face charges in the deaths of the five priests who were Spanish citizens.

He was El Salvador's vice minister for public security during the 1980s.

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