DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     October 11, 1999     vol. 10, no. 193

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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PROSECUTOR IN GUATEMALA BISHOP SLAYING FLEES COUNTRY

        GUATEMALA CITY (CWNews.com) - The prosecutor investigating the murder of an auxiliary bishop of Guatemala last year resigned on Thursday and fled the country fearing for his life, according to news reports.

        Prosecutor Celvin Galindo, speaking from an undisclosed location in the United States, told a local radio station that he believed that "in reaching the end of the case I would run a very great risk." He added that the Guatemalan government seemed unwilling to see the investigation through to the end.

        Auxiliary Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi Conedera was killed at his home in Guatemala City in April 1998, just two days after releasing a human rights report that blamed most deaths in the country's 36-year civil war on the military. Although the investigation focused mainly on a priest living at the bishop's residence as the prime suspect, human rights groups and Catholic leaders said more attention should be paid to the military connection.

        The first judge and prosecutor overseeing the case were forced to resign after international complaints that they had gone out of their way to ignore evidence the army might be involved. The second judge in the case resigned in March after one month presiding over the investigation and fled to Canada, saying he had received death threats after authorizing investigation into political motives.

        Before resigning, Galindo had collected blood samples from various suspects, including soldiers seen near the bishop's house around the time of the slaying, and had asked the US FBI to conduct DNA analyses.

        Independent human rights activist Helen Mack Chang said that just as Galindo had begun to build scientific evidence against those involved in the case, "the pressure began, the death threats, and he had to withdraw. It is very sad."


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.

October 11, 1999       volume 10, no. 193
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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