Trial in Murder of Guatamala Bishop to Proceed
GUATEMALA CITY, Feb. 2, 01 (CWNews.com) - The case of a
murdered Guatemalan bishop will go to trial this month
after a three year wait, a judge announced on Thursday.
Judge Jose Eduardo Cojulun, who is part of the three-judge
court, said the case will begin February 15 and include
testimony from more than 100 witnesses. The defendants are
retired army Col. Disrael Lima and his son, active Sgt.
Byron Lima; Jose Obdulio Villanueva, a former member of the
presidential security team; and Father Mario Orantes, who
lived with Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi Conedera.
Bishop Gerardi, auxiliary bishop of Guatemala City and head
of the Church's Human Rights Office in the country, was
beaten to death on April 26, 1998, two days after he
released a report on the country's 36-year-long civil war
in which he blamed most of the 200,000 deaths on the
military and its paramilitary allies.
Father Orantes was an original suspect, was released, and
was re-arrested. He will remain hospitalized during the
trial as he suffers from a series of debilitating
conditions. A string of prosecutors and judges have
resigned over the course of the investigation, some citing
death threats against them and their families.
February 3, 2001
volume 12, no. 34
News from the Universal Church