DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     February 19-21, 1999     vol. 10, no. 35

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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GUATEMALA JUDGE RELEASES PRIEST ACCUSED OF BISHOP MURDER

          GUATEMALA CITY (CWNews.com) - A Guatemalan judge on Wednesday ordered the release of Father Mario Orantes Najera, determining that there is insufficient evidence to implicate him in the murder of Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera.

          Father Orantes was arrested in July 1998, after police investigators charged that he was involved in the death of Bishop Gerardi in April of that year. Father Orantes, who lived in the same rectory with the slain bishop, was accused of having ordered his dog to attack the bishop. But the investigators never produced any evidence to back that charge.

          Catholic Church officials had consistently said that they believed Father Orantes is innocent of the charges, and appealed for his immediate release. Church officials have also criticized investigators for failing to pursue other leads in the death of Bishop Gerardi -- who was killed just after having released a report which sharply criticized the country's military leaders for their involvement in human-rights offenses during Guatemala's civil war.

          The release of Father Orantes leaves investigators with no suspects in the Gerardi slaying. Two other suspects, arrested prior to the detention of Father Orantes, were also released because of lack of evidence to tie them to the case.


Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales. Both CWN and NE are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

February 19-21, 1999       volume 10, no. 35
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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