Queqchí people carrying their loved one's remains after an exhumation in Cambayal in Alta Verapaz department, Guatemala. Photo: Trocaire / Centre of Forensic Anthropology and Applied Sciences

Dictator who oversaw massacres of Maya people in Guatemala dies

Efrain Rios Montt, a former dictator of Guatemala whose tenure saw the widespread deaths of Maya people, died on Sunday, according to news reports. He was 91.

Ríos Montt was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity in 2013. He allegedly ordered massacres at two villages where Maya people lived.

"The soldiers tore the victims’ hearts out and put them on a little table, they piled them there," Nicolas Brito, a survivor of one of the attacks, said in court during the trial, The Associated Press reported in March 2013.

But Guatemala’s Constitutional Court later overturned the convictions and Ríos Montt was in the process of being retried when he died.

More than 200,000 people, mainly those of Maya descent, were killed or went missing during Guatemala's war from 1960 to 1996. The massacres at issue in Ríos Montt's case took place in 1982 and 1983.

The victims were mainly women, elders and children, according to evidence presented in court. Nearly 1,800 people were confirmed dead

Read More on the Story:
Efrain Rios Montt, former Guatemalan military dictator charged with genocide, dies at 91 (The Associated Press April 1, 2018)
Efraín Ríos Montt, Guatemalan Dictator Convicted of Genocide, Dies at 91 (April 1, 2018)
Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt dies while facing genocide charges (Reuters April 2, 2018)

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