Four Convicted in “Historical Human Rights Case”

GUATEMALA CITY – Four suspects, three of them linked to the Guatemala military, were convicted of murder on Friday in the 1998 murder of prominent human rights advocate Bishop Juan Gerardi.

GUATEMALA CITY – Four suspects, three of them linked to the Guatemala military, were convicted of murder on Friday in the 1998 murder of prominent human rights advocate Bishop Juan Gerardi.

A three-judge tribunal found retired army Col. Byron Lima Estrada, his army captain son Byron Lima Oliva and former presidential bodyguard Jose Obdulio Villanueva guilty of murder and sentenced them each to 30 years in prison.

Roman Catholic priest Mario Orantes was sentenced to 20 years as an accessory to the murder while housemaid Margarita Lopez was acquitted.

Gerardi was found bludgeoned to death on April 26, 1998 in his Guatemala City residence shortly after releasing a report blaming the military for most of the 200,000 deaths during the Central American nation’s 36-year civil war.

The case, delayed for three years as prosecutors, witnesses and a judge fled the country amid death threats, has been seen as a test of Guatemala’s
fragile justice system.

The trial began on March 23, two days after a grenade attack on one judge’s house.

Author:

News Service: Reuters