GUATEMALA CITY - A Guatemalan court on Friday convicted former dictator Efrain Rios Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, sentencing him to 80 years in prison. The 86-year-old former general is the first former Latin American leader ever found guilty of such a charge.
A three-judge tribunal issued the verdict after the nearly two-month trial in which dozens of victims testified about horrific atrocities.
Prosecutors said Rios Montt must have had knowledge of the massacres of Mayan Indians when he ruled Guatemala from March 1982 to August 1983 at the height of the 36-year civil war. Rios Montt said he never knew of or ordered the massacres while in power.
The war between the government and leftist rebels cost more than 200,000 lives and ended in peace accords in 1996.
TRIPOLI, Libya - Scores of Libyan militiamen descended on an anti-Islamist rally in the nation's capital, Tripoli, kicking and beating protesters who had taken to the streets Friday as part of a call for mass demonstrations against the country's unruly militias and Muslim radicals.
Rallies also took place in two other Libyan cities, Benghazi and Tobruk, with hundreds of activists denouncing the armed thugs and decrying what they describe as political maneuverings by the nation's Muslim Brotherhood.
For nearly two weeks, Libya has been gripped by fear of new armed conflict after militias stormed and surrounded government buildings in Tripoli, blocking access to ministries in an attempt to push parliament to pass a contentious law that would prevent members of Moammar Gadhafi's regime from serving in senior government posts.
BAMAKO, Mali - Five suicide bombers carried out two simultaneous attacks on soldiers in Mali on Friday in another indication of the growing coordination of operations by militants against African and French forces.
The attacks killed only the bombers and wounded two Malian troops, but they highlighted the threat posed by the al-Qaeda-linked militants, four months after France launched an offensive to oust them from urban centers in the West African nation.
Four men entered the northern Malian town of Gossi around 4:30 a.m. Friday, according to local official Sidi Ben Hamou. Three blew themselves up at a checkpoint, wounding two Malian soldiers.