May 30, 2000
volume 11, no. 100

NEWS for Tuesday, May 30, 2000
Bishop Misago Says Charges "Without Foundation"

    Bishop Augustine Misago, accused of complicity in genocide and facing a possible death penalty, has written the Holy Father reasserting his innocence of the crime he is accused of. When the call for the death penalty was made two weeks ago, the Holy Father immediately sent a message of consolation to the imprisoned Bishop.

    The Pope wrote: "Given the painful news I have received of your detention in prison, which has lasted for thirteen months, but far more so, the petition presented for capital punishment, I feel the duty to renew to you once again, dear pastor of the beloved diocese of Gikongoro, my closeness as well as that of the entire Church."

    In reply, Bishop Augustine Misago wrote:

    "Holy Father:

        "He who has the honor to address you in writing is one of your sons, Bishop Augustine Misago, of the diocese of Gikongoro in Rwanda, detained in prison in Kilgali since May 14, 1999.

        "I have received your moving message of May 10, 2000, a paternal message of consolation and support. It has arrived at the right moment, that is, at the crucial moment in which the Attorney has just requested the death penalty: a measure I consider totally unjust and without foundation.

        "Therefore, Holy Father, I wish to thank you from the depth of my heart for your gestures of solidarity and compassion. I have learned that you are celebrating your 80th birthday. This circumstance inspires me to send you my best wishes and assure you, once again, of my constant prayer for you.

"Cell in the Kilgali Prison
"+Augustine Misago
"Bishop of Gikongoro
"In captivity"

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