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Reopening of Romero Murder Case Requested

September 10, 2004

SAN SALVADOR (AFP) – The legalguidance office of the Archbishop of SanSalvador on Tuesday demanded thereopening of the 1980 murder case ofslain Archbishop Oscar Romero, followinga ruling in a California civil court lastweek that found a former Salvadoran militarycaptain liable for involvement in thecrime.According to office director MaríaJulia Hernández, the Attorney General ofEl Salvador is required by his “constitutionalmandate and compliance to internationalobligations” to reopen criminal proceedingsin El Salvador.Hernández added that the LegislativeAssembly should repeal the 1993Amnesty Law that pardoned individualsfor atrocities committed during the civilwar (1980-1992).“(The Amnesty Law) was a gravepolitical error and an inexcusable violationof the Constitution,” she said.The petition from the humanitarianbranch of the archdiocese was presentedfour days after a civil court in Fresno,California, last Friday found AlvaroSaravia, a retired Salvadoran Air Forcecaptain, guilty of involvement in the murderof Romero (TT, Aug. 27).Fresno Judge Oliver Wagner foundSaravia liable for the Romero murder, andordered the former Air Force captain topay the plaintiffs $2.5 million in compensatorydamages and an additional $7.5million in punitive damages.Saravia did not show up for the trial,nor was he represented in court. Hereportedly was last living in the Fresnoarea.

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