RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A former Salvadoran colonel fighting extradition to Spain will remain in jail after receiving new medicine Friday amid a federal judge’s demands that authorities address his health care.
Federal Judge Terrence Boyle ordered that Inocente Orlando Montano Morales will stay in the Piedmont Regional Jail in Virginia after jail medical staff examined him and filed an update with the court. Earlier in the week, Montano’s lawyer alleged that the 75-year-old bladder cancer survivor’s health was declining as the jail provided inadequate care.
That set off a series of legal filings, with Boyle threatening to release Montano pending the outcome of the case if authorities didn’t give a satisfactory update on his care. On Friday morning, a jail doctor and nurse examined Montano, prescribing him an antibiotic for a urinary tract infection, along with medicine to treat diabetic nerve pain.
Montano was recently moved to the Virginia jail from North Carolina while he awaits a decision on whether he will be extradited to face charges he helped plot the 1989 killings of six Jesuit priests during El Salvador’s civil war.
Prosecutors have disputed Montano’s inadequate care accusations, but the judge said he wanted another update on Montano’s condition Friday. That prompted a filing by the head nurse at the jail describing the new prescriptions and the examination.
Prosecutors argued that he’s received proper treatment since he arrived at the jail in Farmville, Virginia earlier this month.
To explain why Montano’s blood sugar wasn’t tested for several days, prosecutors wrote that Montano’s oral diabetes medicine doesn’t require daily measurements. They also said Montano wasn’t correctly using a device to collect waste after bladder cancer surgery, which is why he has soiled himself.
Defense attorneys wrote on Tuesday that Montano, who’s susceptible to infection because of his cancer surgery, was having symptoms of a fever and that jailers ignored repeated requests for assistance in using the bathroom.
Montano oversaw the National Police as El Salvador’s vice minister for public security in the 1980s when a 12-year civil war killed 75,000 people.
Spain is seeking to try Montano on murder charges in the killings of the priests, most of whom were from Spain.
Outrage over the priests’ massacre led to a U.S. congressional investigation, which found that members of the Salvadoran counter-insurgency force that carried out the murders received training from the U.S military.
Montano’s extradition was approved last year by a federal magistrate judge, but Boyle is reviewing a challenge by Montano’s lawyers.
Montano’s health concerns raise questions of whether he will live long enough to face trial. At a May court hearing, a hunched-over and pale Montano had to be wheeled into the courtroom.
Boyle previously tried to send Montano to a prison hospital, but the U.S. Marshals Service instead moved him to the Virginia jail. Authorities said the prison hospital had a waiting list for beds, among other obstacles.
Piedmont Regional Jail’s website boasts of low daily costs for housing prisoners. But it has also come under scrutiny, including a 2013 settlement agreement with the Justice Department requiring it to improve medical care.
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