LETHRBIDGE: The Canadian Centre for International Justice has confirmed a man arrested in
Lethbridge in January of 2011 and wanted by Guatemalan authorities for alleged
war crimes, has been sentenced to 10-years for lying to gain U.S. citizenship.
On October 1st of 2013, 55-year old Jorge Vinicio Orantes Sosa was found
guilty in a California court of making false statements and obtaining
citizenship unlawfully. A 10-year sentence was handed down in a Riverside,
California court on Monday. The former Guatemalan army officer will also be
stripped of his of American Citizenship.
It should be noted, the sentence does not address the alleged war crime
U.S. Prosecutors had claimed Sosa did not disclose his role in the 1982
killings in a Guatemalan village when he applied to become a naturalized U-S
citizen, even though he was asked about affiliations and past
Sosa was arrested in Lethbridge on January 18th of 2011 while he visited
family in the city. He was held in Calgary, while he appealed a decision by a
Canadian judge to send him south of the border, where he would go to trial on
charges of lying to American authorities to acquire citizenship there. As it
turned out, Sosa, who was 52 at the time, held both Canadian and U.S.
On August 8th, 2012, the Court of Appeal of Alberta ruled that the appeal was
"hopeless", saying there is evidence suggesting that Sosa withheld information
about military background, including his alleged involvement in a civilian
massacre of 251 men, women and children in a Guatemala village in 1982.
Justice Brian O'Ferrall stated in the decision that despite claims by Sosa
that he had nothing to do with the event, several witnesses have come forward
saying that not only was he there, but that he was a commanding officer in the
group that carried out the slaughter.
O'Ferrall added that the judge who made the decision to extradite Sosa did
not need to determine whether or not he was guilty, but whether or not there was
enough evidence against him to warrant a trial.
You can read the full decision at the following link:
Sosa was also denied a chance to have the Supreme Court of Canada hear an
appeal of his extradition to the U-S. No reasons were given.
An account of the case ans sentence can be found on the Canadian Centre for International Justice website: