Salvadoran court orders president to answer on 1979 kidnap

July 11, 2018
FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2014 file photo, President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, of El Salvador, listens to audience applause after his address to the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters. The El Salvador Supreme Court has ordered on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, that Sanchez Ceren must give testimony on the kidnapping and disappearance of the South African Embassador to El Salvador Archibald Gardner Dunn, in 1979, during the civil war period. At the time, Sanchez Ceren was the leader of the People's Liberation Forces rebel group that published the demands for the ambassador's liberation. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — El Salvador’s Supreme Court has ordered President Salvador Sanchez Ceren to present any information he has on the fate of a South African diplomat who was kidnapped and disappeared by leftist guerrillas in 1979.

Then-Ambassador Archibald Gardner Dunn was kidnapped by a guerrilla faction that became part of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN. The rebels demanded a ransom but the diplomat was never turned over and his body never found.

Sanchez Ceren is a former leader of the FMLN, which disbanded and became a political party following 1992 peace accords.

Presidential press officer Roberto Lorenzana said Wednesday the court order “has a political motive to damage the president’s image.”

He said Sanchez Ceren was still an activist in the teachers’ movement at the time of the kidnapping.

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