El Salvador congress strips ex-defense minister of immunity

AP News
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Posted: Dec 05, 2016 9:10 PM

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — El Salvador's congress has voted to strip a former defense minister of immunity from prosecution, so he can be faced with accusations he used his position for arms trafficking.

Jose Atilio Benitez Parada is currently the country's ambassador to Germany. He says he has returned to El Salvador to face the charges and contends he is being treated like a criminal on the word of a protected witness.

Prosecutors allege Benitez trafficked weapons from the military's armories and instructed subordinates to register arms that were later sold.

Prosecutors say Benitez committed the crimes first as a vice defense minister and later as minister of defense during the 2009-2014 administration of President Mauricio Funes.