WEDNESDAY
February 2, 2000
volume 11, no. 23
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

GUATEMALA ORDERS SUSPECT PRIEST TO RETURN FROM U.S.

    GUATEMALA CITY (CWNews.com) - Guatemala's government over the weekend ordered a priest to voluntarily return from the United States or face extradition in the case of a bishop murdered there in April 1998.

    Attorney General Leopoldo Zeissig said Father Mario Orantes Najera, 40, had until Tuesday to appear before investigators. After that, authorities planned to request his extradition. Father Orantes' family said the priest had fled to the US and was in hiding following death threats made against him and for medical treatment.

    Father Orantes had been jailed from July 1998 to February 1999 as a suspect in the murder of Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera, who was murdered two days after releasing a report that blamed the military and death squads for most of the deaths during the country's 36-year civil war. Human rights groups and Catholic leaders dismissed the idea that Father Orantes, who lived with Bishop Gerardi, was involved and said the investigation should focus on the military and death squads.

    After President Alfonso Portillo called for a new investigation into the crime during his inauguration on January 14, police arrested a former presidential guard, an Army officer, the man's father, who is a retired officer, and the bishop's cook, who was also jailed briefly in 1998. The arrests were based on testimony from Ruben Chamax Sontay, a man who was near the bishop's home on the night of the killing, authorities said.

          

February 2, 2000
volume 11, no. 23
NEWS & VIEWS

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