Amnesty Blesses Butchery of El Salvador's Murderers

National Catholic Reporter, April 16, 1993 | Go to article overview

Amnesty Blesses Butchery of El Salvador's Murderers


Word comes that it is business as usual among the ranks of mighty rulers -- and butchers -- of El Salvador.

On March 31 they announced the release (page 8) of the two army officers serving 30-year sentences for the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests and two women in El Salvador.

We learn that Col. Guillermo Alfredo Benavides and Lt. Yusshy Mendoza are only the first to be freed under a new Salvadoran law providing a blanket pardon for "political" crimes committed during El Salvador's bloody civil war.

We hear of published reports that amnesty will also likely be given to the national guardsmen jailed for the 1980 rape and murder of four North American church women: Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel and lay missioner Jean Donovan.

Atrocity added to atrocity. At the same time, the world knows -- and the U.N. Truth Commission Report has confirmed -- that justice has never been served by jailing those who pulled the triggers during the 1989 killings or who carrid out the 1980 rapes and murders. Those who ordered the murders are the real criminals, and they are the very one now ordering the release of those who have served prison sentences in their places.

It is a tidy system, outrageously unjust and immoral. It is also a product of the anticommunist fanaticism and indifference to values of human decency and rights that characterized U. …

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