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Guatemalans executed by firing squad

ESCUINTLA, Guatemala, Sept. 13 -- A Guatemalan firing squad executed Friday two men convicted of the rape and murder of a 4-year-old girl, ending months of delays and appeals in the case. Pedro Castillo and Roberto Giron were executed at 6 a.m. at the Canada prison farm, 40 miles south of Guatemala City.

At least 100 local and foreign journalists attended the televised executions by firing squad. The death sentences were handed down 18 months ago for the 1993 rape and murder of the 4-year-old girl. President Alvaro Arzu denied a plea for clemency in July, but the executions were further delayed when lawyers for the two men appealed to the Constitutional Court. Judge Gustavo Gaitan suspended the executions a third time on Wednesday after the Inter-American Human Rights Commission alleged there could have been procedural anomalies in the trial. The executions were the first carried out in Guatemala since the military government of Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, who ruled the country from 1982 to 1983.

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