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Saturday 10 December 2016

Two army officers sentenced to 100 years in prison for using women as sex slaves

Published 27/02/2016 | 16:09

Heriberto Valdez Asij (R), a civilian who was attached to the Army, and former army officer Steelmer Francisco Reyes Giron (background) remain at a courtroom to listen to their sentence in Guatemala City
Heriberto Valdez Asij (R), a civilian who was attached to the Army, and former army officer Steelmer Francisco Reyes Giron (background) remain at a courtroom to listen to their sentence in Guatemala City
Former Guatemalan Army Colonel Esteelmer Reyes Giron looks on after the verdict was given in the Sepur Zarco case in Guatemala City, Guatemala, February 26, 2016
People react after a verdict was given in the Sepur Zarco case in Guatemala City, Guatemala, February 26, 2016.
Ex-military commissioner Heriberto Valdez attends the final hearing of the Sepur Zarco case in Guatemala City, Guatemala, February 26, 2016
People react after a verdict was given in the Sepur Zarco case in Guatemala City, Guatemala, February 26, 2016.

Two Guatemalan army officers have been sentenced to more than 100 years in prison for using women as sex slaves.

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Lt. Col. Esteelmen Francisco Reyes and Heriberto Valdéz Asij were sentenced to a combined 240 years in prison on Friday after being convicted of turning 15 indigenous women into sex slaves during the Guatemalan civil war in the 1980s.

They were also accused of facilitating "forced disappearances."

Erika Guevara-Rosas of Amnesty International said after their conviction on Friday: "These historic convictions send the unequivocal message that sexual violence is a serious crime and that no matter how much time passes, it will be punished. It is a great victory for the 11 women who embarked on a 30-year-long battle for justice."

Ex-military commissioner Heriberto Valdez attends the final hearing of the Sepur Zarco case in Guatemala City, Guatemala, February 26, 2016
Ex-military commissioner Heriberto Valdez attends the final hearing of the Sepur Zarco case in Guatemala City, Guatemala, February 26, 2016

The women, who are not identified, said they were held captive from 1982 to 1983. Reyes and Asij were accused of murder, rape, sexual abuse, kidnapping and domestic servitude.

The civil war lasted from 1960 to 1996.

Former Guatemalan Army Colonel Esteelmer Reyes Giron looks on after the verdict was given in the Sepur Zarco case in Guatemala City, Guatemala, February 26, 2016
Former Guatemalan Army Colonel Esteelmer Reyes Giron looks on after the verdict was given in the Sepur Zarco case in Guatemala City, Guatemala, February 26, 2016
People react after a verdict was given in the Sepur Zarco case in Guatemala City, Guatemala, February 26, 2016.
People react after a verdict was given in the Sepur Zarco case in Guatemala City, Guatemala, February 26, 2016.

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