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James Martin, S.J.November 14, 2008

 

From The New York Times, by Victoria Burnett, AP, a surprising development in a case that has great meaning for many of our readers, and our editors as well:

Nearly 20 years after the Salvadoran Army killed six Jesuit priests in one of the most notorious events of El Salvador’s civil war, a criminal complaint filed in the Spanish High Court has revived hopes that those behind the massacre could face trial.

Early on Nov. 16, 1989, six priests, a housekeeper and her 16-year-old daughter were killed by the Salvadoran Army on the campus of the Central American University in San Salvador.

Human rights lawyers filed a complaint on Thursday against the Salvadoran president at the time, Alfredo Cristiani Burkard, and 14 former members of the Salvadoran military, for their roles in the killings of the priests and two female employees, and in the official cover-up that followed. International outrage over the murders proved to be pivotal in sapping American support for United States military assistance to the Salvadoran Army.

“We hope this case helps to reawaken the memory and the conscience of El Salvador’s people,” said Almudena Bernabeu, a lawyer for the San Francisco-based Center for Justice and Accountability, a human rights law center, which filed the case along with the Spanish Association for Human Rights.

The Spanish High Court must decide whether to press charges against the men and seek their extradition to Spain, Ms. Bernabeu said. --Victoria Burnett, AP, in The New York Time

James Martin, SJ

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