A FORMER Salvadoran colonel has been extradited to Spain to face charges that he helped plot the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests and two others in El Salvador.

The National Court in Madrid said Inocente Orlando Montano Morales, 76, arrived in Madrid on yesterday from the US and was placed in prison. He is to be brought before the court today.

Montano faces charges of terrorist murder in the attack on the Jesuit priests – five of whom were Spaniards – and two female employees. US court documents said Montano was part of a group of military officers accused of conspiring to kill the priests, who were helping organise peace talks during El Salvador’s 1980-1992 civil war.

The extradition was welcomed by lawyers for a legal advocacy organisation, The Guernica Group, and the Spanish Association for Human Rights, who in 2008 filed a criminal complaint before the National Court.

“Montano’s arrival to Spain brings hope not only to the families and the Jesuit community but to all victims of El Salvador who have been waiting for justice since the end of the war,” said Almudena Bernabeu, a lawyer with The Guernica Group.

Montano had been held most recently in a South Carolina facility by US federal authorities. He denied involvement in the killings but a federal magistrate judge in North Carolina ruled in 2016 that evidence showed he took part in the plot.