Philippines massacre: Masterminds of Maguindanao killings convicted | News | DW | 19.12.2019
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Philippines massacre: Masterminds of Maguindanao killings convicted

A court in the Philippines has convicted 30 people for their roles in the country's worst political murders, including killing over 30 journalists. The convicts face lengthy jail terms.

A court in the Philippines has issued life sentences to 30 people found guilty on 57 counts of murder.

The 2009 mass killing included 32 journalists in the city of Maguindanao and became known as the "Maguindanao massacre". Leaders of the Ampatuan family were convicted of orchestrating the killings in order to quash election challenges from a rival clan.

Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes sentenced a total of 30 people in the case. More than 50 other accused were acquitted in the case, which involved more than 100 suspects.

Read more: Philippine activists locked in deadly struggle for land rights

Those convicted, including many members of the Ampatuan dynasty, will face life sentences in jail, which in the Philippines means 40 years. There is no death penalty in the Philippines.

Those accused were also ordered by the judge to compensate the families of the victims. About 80 suspects of the 2009 murder remain at large.

What happened in 2009?

Ampatuan Jnr., mayor of the small Philippines town Datu Ansan and son of the Maguindanao governor, led an armed group to block a seven-vehicle convoy carrying relatives and friends of a rival politician, Esmael Mangudadatu. Journalists had also joined the convoy.

Ampatuan and his followers opened fire on the convoy and then slaughtered the participants. Mutilated bodies were found in vans and cars.

The powerful Ampatuan family have consistently denied the charges and are expected to appeal the convictions.

Family and friends of the victims of the massacre have welcomed the ruling.

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ed/se (Reuters, dpa)

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