Salvadoran Prelate Asks Release of Killers
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 23 -- In a plea for compassion,
Archbishop Fernando Sáenz asked the government today to
pardon two former soldiers convicted of raping and killing three
American nuns and a social worker in 1980.
The two former
national guardsmen have served 19 years of their
30-year sentences. "Let us have mercy and pity for them. They have
demonstrated their repentance," the archbishop said.
Five former soldiers
were convicted of the December 1980 rape and
murder of three Roman Catholic nuns -- Ita Ford, Maura Clark and
Dorothy Kazel -- and a social worker, Jean Donovan.
The three other
soldiers were freed in 1998 under a law to relieve prison
crowding. They said they had killed the women on the orders of
superiors who were never prosecuted. The two remaining servicemen
were not eligible because of misconduct in prison.
families, who filed suit last May against the former defense
minister and the former director general of the National Guard accusing
them of having covered up the killings, believe the women were attacked
because officials suspected they sympathized with leftist guerrillas.