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Venezuelan prosecutors summon ex-president over 1986 student killings

[JURIST] Prosecutors in Venezuela [JURIST news archive] have ordered former Venezuelan President Jaime Lusinchi [CIDOB backgrounder, in Spanish] to appear in court in connection with the killings of nine leftist students in the western Venezuelan town of Yumare in 1986. The Venezuelan prosecutor's office [official website, in Spanish] stated that Lusinchi was summoned for "presumably being linked to the act", according to AP. The killings were described at the time as the result of a clash between state security forces and the remnants of a band of leftist guerrillas. Leftist critics, however, characterized the killings as executions. The controversy over the killings, which have become known as the Yumare Massacre, was dormant for decades before coming to prominence during the 2006 Venezuelan presidential election, in which Hugo Chavez [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] was re-elected. The case was reopened by the Venezuelan prosecutor's office after pleas by members of the victims' families. Reportedly, thirteen other officials are also being summoned in relation to the killings.

Lusinchi was President of Venezuela from 1984 to 1989. In 1991, the Senate of Venezuela voted to hold Lusinchi responsible for "multi-billion dollar fraud." His current whereabouts are unknown. AP has more.

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