Ex-Guatemala leader to face retrial despite dementia

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Gen Rios Montt led Guatemala for a little over a year in the early 1980s

Guatemala's former military leader General Efrain Rios Montt must face retrial for genocide despite suffering from dementia, a court has ruled.

But the court ordered that the hearing must take place behind closed doors, and he cannot be sentenced if found guilty.

His trial is set for January next year.

The 89-year-old was found guilty in 2013 of ordering the mass killing of indigenous people in the early 1980s, but the conviction was overturned.

The court's decision to proceed with a special retrial came after Gen Rios Montt underwent medical assessment.

Doctors have told the court he suffers dementia, and further testing found he lacked the capacity to appear at a public hearing. Instead, will be represented by lawyers.

Gen Rios Montt came to power in a 1982 coup, but was himself toppled the following year.

He is accused of ordering the massacre of over 1,700 Ixil Maya people, as part of efforts to stamp out support for leftist guerrilla groups.

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