DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     October 23-25, 1998     vol. 9, no. 208

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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GUATEMALA PRIEST FORMALLY CHARGED IN BISHOP'S MURDER

          GUATEMALA CITY (CWNews.com) - A Guatemalan priest was formally charged in the murder of an auxiliary bishop in Guatemala City on Wednesday, after the judge in the case refused a motion to dismiss the charges.

          Judge Isaias Figueroa Medina ordered Father Mario Lionel Orantes Najera to remain in jail and await trial on charges of killing Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera, the former head of the archdiocesan human rights office. Bishop Gerardi was found bludgeoned to death at his residence which he shared with Father Orantes in April, two days after releasing a report blaming the Guatemalan military for most of the deaths in the country's 36-year civil war.

          Church officials have said that there is not enough evidence to hold Father Orantes, especially since allegations that the priest's dog was involved have proved false, and that the prosecution have not been able to identify a possible motive.

          Monsignor Efrain Hernandez called Figueroa's decision "lamentable." Archbishop Victor Hugo Martinez criticized the investigation and accused prosecutors of ignoring "the hidden forces who were behind the crime," referring to pro-military groups which are blamed by human rights and Catholic groups.


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October 23-25, 1998       volume 9, no. 208
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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