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3 Salvadoran Killers of U.S. Marines Freed

November 12, 1987|United Press International

SAN SALVADOR — Three confessed killers of four U.S. Marines and eight civilians will be freed today under a sweeping amnesty law that pardons all "political crimes," the military judge handling the case said.

"Today we will issue the orders to free the three men who killed 12 people, including the Marines and two other Americans," Military Judge Jorge Alberto Serrano told United Press International.

Under the amnesty law, each case of suspected political crime goes to a judge who decides whether the crime is political and covered by the amnesty.

So far, 427 prisoners have been freed under the amnesty.

'Will Go Free Today'

"The resolution of this case is based on Article 1 and 2 of the amnesty decree," Serrano said. "It has been determined the killings were political crimes and they will go free today under the amnesty law."

The suspected killer of Lt. Cmdr. Albert Schaufelberger, an American gunned down May 25, 1983, also was expected to be freed, other judicial sources said.

"The killings are reprehensible here or anywhere, but the law is the law, and we must apply the amnesty," Serrano said.

On June 19, 1985, the rebel gunmen, who confessed to the crime, opened fire on two outdoor cafes in the exclusive "Pink Zone" in the capital, aiming to kill four off-duty Marine guards at the U.S. Embassy.

Marines Were Target

The four were killed along with two American computer technicians, five Salvadorans, a Guatemalan and a Chilean. One rebel was accidentally killed by his own men.

The rebels said later the Marines were the target of the attack.

It was the worst violence aimed at the United States, which provides military advisers and $1.5 million a day to the government, since the civil war began eight years ago.

In August, 1985, the military arrested Abraham Dimas Aguilar, Juan Miguel Garcia and William Celio Rivas, who confessed to the killings and said they belonged to the Revolutionary Party of Central American Workers, a hard-line faction of the rebels

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