WASHINGTON (CN) - A Salvadoran general who led the National Guard and was Minister of Defense can be deported because of his role in the "torture and extrajudicial killing of civilians in El Salvador," of which he was aware, the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled Wednesday.
Gen. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova was director of the Salvadoran National Guard from 1979 to 1983, and Salvadoran Minister of Defense from 1984 to 1988.
The military agencies were responsible for thousands of tortures and extrajudicial killings under Vides Casanova's reign, including the rape and murder of four U.S. churchwomen in 1980.
Vides Casanova immigrated to the United States in 1989 and was granted permanent legal residency.
The United Nations Truth Commission Report on El Salvador found that Vides Casanova knew about the National Guardsmen who murdered the nuns, and participated in the cover-up that obstructed the investigation.
He and another general, Jose Guillermo Garcia, were found guilty of torture in a civil lawsuit in Florida in 2002 and ordered to pay $54.6 million in damages.
One of the plaintiffs in that case was a doctor who was beaten, raped and had his fingers broken during a 3-week interrogation.
Another plaintiff was beaten and raped repeatedly while she was 8 months pregnant, then dumped on a truck full of dead bodies.
The three-member panel of the Board of Immigration Appeals found Vides Casanova deportable because "he participated in the commission of particular acts of torture and extrajudicial killing of civilians in El Salvador, in that they took place while he was in command, he was aware of these abuses during or after the fact, and through both his personal interference with investigations and his inaction, he did not hold the perpetrators accountable."
The board dismissed the appeal that allowed Vides Casanova to stay in the United States.
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