Ex colonel testifies, blames extremists - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ex colonel testifies, blames extremists

A Memphis resident who was an El Salvador military commander has testified that extremists tortured and murdered people as he tried to reform his unit.

Seventy-two-year-old Nicholas Carranza took the stand yesterday in the Memphis federal court trial of the lawsuit against him by five Salvadorans who suffered under his rule.

Carranza said he instituted many humanitarian reforms after taking command of the Treasury Police in 1983.

He said the rampages in which thousands of people died were carried out by both right-wing and left-wing extremists. He testified the military government couldn't have stopped it, even if it wanted to.

As he was cross-examined, Carranza answered a question, saying he didn't investigate claims that his soldiers were torturing and murdering civilians.

Carranza came to Memphis 20 years ago. He retired after working for a decade as a museum security guard.

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