Man Convicted of Lying About Massacre in Seeking Citizenship

Ruben Vives, Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2013

A federal jury convicted a Moreno Valley man Tuesday of lying on his U.S. citizenship application about his military role in the 1982 massacre of a village during the Guatemalan civil war.

Jurors found Jorge Sosa, 55, guilty of making false statements and obtaining citizenship unlawfully, according to his attorney, Shashi Kewalramani.

Sosa, a martial arts instructor holding American and Canadian citizenship, faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and having his U.S. citizenship revoked when he is sentenced Dec. 19.

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Prosecutors said Sosa was a commanding officer in the Guatemalan military’s special operations force known as the Kaibiles, and was involved in a 1982 massacre in the small village of Dos Eres.

Prosecutors said the commando unit slaughtered more than 160 people—including women, children and the elderly—during the attack.

Women were raped, they said, and villagers were gathered and thrown into a well. Prosecutors also said Sosa fired his rifle and threw a grenade into the well during the massacre.

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Kewalramani argued that in previous documents Sosa filed as part of a failed attempt to gain political asylum, the defendant noted his time in the military and included a letter that contained a threat against his family because of his service.

Prosecutors argued that Sosa deliberately tried to hide his past.

“He tried to apply as a new and improved Jorge Sosa,” Brian Skaret, a Justice Department attorney, told the jury. “He wanted to appear as a different man. He wanted to run from his past.”

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