DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     June 30, 1999     vol. 10, no. 126

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Former Judge Accuses Government Officials Of Bishop's Murder

Guatamala mystery cover-up drones on well over a year

          GUATEMALA CITY (CWNews.com) - A former judge on Monday filed a complaint against Guatemala's new defense minister and two other military leaders, accusing them of planning the murder of Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera last year.

          Judge Juan Carlos Solis Oliva did not reveal his evidence in the complaint, but named Gen. Marco Tulio Espinoza Contreras and other officers as the masterminds of the killing. Prosecutors will investigate the complaint to see if charges should be filed.

          Bishop Gerardi was murdered at his home in April, 1998, two days after releasing a human rights report blaming the military and its paramilitary allies of the majority of deaths during the country's 36-year civil war. The investigation until now had focused on a priest who was living with the bishop at the time, even though Church and human rights groups had insisted that the timing of the murder after the report be investigated.

          The Archdiocese of Guatemala City's human rights office, which Bishop Gerardi led before his death, was cautious concerning Solis Oliva's claims. "We want to be able to see his evidence. Until now, as far as we know he hasn't presented any actual evidence," said Mynor Melgar, legal counsel to the human rights office. Solis Oliva has previously said that his information comes from a confidential military source. But some Guatemalans say he is trying to divert attention from some of his relatives whose names have come up in the investigation.

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.

June 30, 1999       volume 10, no. 126


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