FMLN commander arrested


FMLN commander arrested

By Roberto Jorquera

On October 17, a Salvadoran judge ordered the arrest of Joaquin Villalobos, one of the five FMLN commanders and leader of the ERP. Villalobos was charged with the offence, of defamation against Sergeant Orlando de Sola, whom he accused of financing and organising the military death squads in El Salvador.

This began a trial in which the defendants presented the testimony of Sonia Aguinada (now a deputy in the national parliament). Aguinada had been a prisoner in one of the houses belonging to Sola. The defendants stated that a number of other similar testimonies would be presented.

The defendants also presented various documents declassified by the CIA, the Pentagon and the White House and newspaper articles from the United States, including the New York Times and Washington Post, where the accusations had been repeated.

The judge ruled that there was no case to be answered. The accusers appealed to a higher court, which ruled that there was sufficient reason for charges to be laid and told the lower court to reconsider the case.

The crime can carry a prison sentence or a fine. Villalobos has said repeatedly that he would not pay the fine and would rather go to jail to demonstrate the irregularities that still exist in the legal system in El Salvador.

A range of Salvadoran citizens and solidarity organisations have written letters in defence of Villalobos and are asking for international support.