22 November 2011 — National Security Archive

Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala identifies them through DNA
For more information contact: Kate Doyle – 646/670-8841

Washington, D.C., November 22, 2011 – The bodies of two men whose disappearance in 1984 was recorded in the notorious Guatemalan “death squad diary” have been located on a former military base outside the capital and positively identified through DNA testing, according to the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala, which announced its findings in a press conference this morning.

The remains belong to Amancio Samuel Villatoro and Sergio Saúl Linares Morales, both captured by security forces in separate incidents and never seen by their families again. Nothing about their fates was known until 1999, when the National Security Archive publicly released the death squad diary, a military logbook created in the mid-1980s to record the abduction, secret detention and deaths of scores of people, Villatoro and Linares among them. In their entries, the document contains a coded reference to their executions. Today, 27 years after their disappearance and 12 years after the publication of the logbook, that information has been confirmed.

“It is an astonishing development in a case that has come to symbolize the impunity and injustice that persist in Guatemala 15 years after its bloody civil conflict ended,” commented Kate Doyle, National Security Archive Senior Analyst. Among the 200,000 civilians killed during the war, there were an estimated 40,000 victims of forced disappearance – men, women and children seized in the cities and conflictive zones by state security or paramilitary forces, interrogated, tortured and secretly executed, their bodies dumped in remote sites or buried in mass graves. Few of the remains of the disappeared have ever been found and only three cases have led to prosecutions resulting in the conviction of former military or police officers.

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THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.

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