SATURDAY
February 3, 2001
volume 12, no. 34

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
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