Calgary: A federal Justice Department lawyer says that a man accused of war crimes in Guatemala and facing extradition to the U.S. is a flight risk and should be denied bail.
Jorge Vinicio Orantes Sosa, 52, who was arrested in Lethbridge in late January while he visited family, is charged in the United States with lying to get his papers. Sosa is also accused of participating in a massacre in 1982 in a Guatemalan village where 251 men, women and children were killed.
Lawyer David Gates said Sosa was notified in the U.S. last year that he was facing indictment on the immigration charges and proceeded to flee to Mexico, leaving his wife behind in California.
He said Sosa is wanted south of the border for allegedly ``lying about being a war criminal.''
Justice Suzanne Bensler will announce her decision on bail on March 9.
In the meantime, an official with a human rights group in Guatemala says Sosa should face prosecution here in Canada.
Wendy Mendez, who originally came to Canada in 1986 as a political refugee after her mother went missing, says the case has attracted attention in Guatemala City where she has been living for the past 12 years.
Mendez thinks the Canadian government should refuse to extradite Sosa and prosecute him here under war crimes legislation. Sosa's family have denied the allegations against him and say he is a good person. He has both Canadian and American citizenship.