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Ex-dictator's backers rally at Guatemala prison

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May 12, 2013 11:02 PM EST | AP

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GUATEMALA CITY — Several dozen people protested on Sunday outside a Guatemala prison against the genocide conviction for former dictator Efrain Rios Montt.

About 50 supporters dressed in white and military garb shouted "Viva Rios Montt" at the Matamoros prison, where the ex-strongman was taken after he received a landmark 80-year sentence for genocide and crimes against humanity.

Demonstrators said the judicial process was corrupt and demanded that a higher court nullify the verdict. Protesters said prosecutors couldn't prove the state had a motive to kill 1,771 Maya.

A tribunal ruled Friday that Rios Montt knew about the killings and didn't stop the slaughter between 1982 and 1983, the height of Guatemala's brutal civil war.

It was the first genocide conviction given to a former Latin American ruler in his own country.