Magazine article The Christian Century

Arrests in Slaying of Guatemalan Bishop

Magazine article The Christian Century

Arrests in Slaying of Guatemalan Bishop

Article excerpt

Guatemalan authorities have announced the arrests of three men with ties to the nation's military in the 1998 slaying of Roman Catholic Bishop Juan Gerardi. Gerardi headed the church's human rights office. Just two days before his murder on April 26, that office had released a report blaming military "death squads" for most of the human rights abuses during the nation's 36-year civil war.

Wire reports from Guatemala City said National Civil Police on January 21 arrested Guatemalan army Captain Byron Lima Oliva and his father, retired Colonel Disrael Lima Estrada, in connection with the slaying. On January 22 a third military suspect, army guard Jose Obdullo Villanueva, was arrested.

U.S. religious human rights activists were quick to point out that Lima Estrada received training at the School of the Americas, the controversial U.S. military school that critics say was used to train South and Central American military personnel in torture and other forms of human rights abuses during the cold-war era. A number of U.S. religious communities have led the campaign, which has included thousands of arrests, to shut down the training facility at Fort Benning, Georgia, although the army maintains that it has changed its curriculum. …

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