[JURIST] A former El Salvadoran Defense Minister accused of human rights abuses during the country’s 1980s civil war is in US immigration custody to await deportation, immigration officials said Friday. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova was arrested in Florida [AP report] where he has been living since 1989. Earlier this month, the Board of Immigration Appeals upheld [decision, PDF] Vides’ deportation order because they found [NYT report] he was responsible for the abuse and killings of civilians in his role as head of the National Guard. That decision discussed Vides’ knowledge of torture committed by the National Guard, including beating several detainees and hanging them from the ceiling. The judge also said Vides was aware of and failed to investigate the kidnap, rape and murder of four American churchwomen in 1980 as well as the murder of a Salvadoran labor leader and two American labor advisers in 1981. Vides’ lawyer plans to appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
The Obama administration charged [JURIST report] Vides in April 2011 for human rights crimes committed while he served as the country’s top military officer. The US brought this case as the first against a foreign military officer who faced immigration charges by a special humans rights office at the Department of Homeland Security [official site]. In February 2012 a federal immigration judge in Florida decided [JURIST report] that Vides could be deported for the crimes. In April of the following year, the US Department of Justice released a revised ruling [JURIST report] ordering Vides’ deportation.