January 6, 2000
Salvadoran president opposes reopening case of slain priests

                  SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) -- President Francisco Flores has
                  rejected the idea of reopening investigations into the 1989 killings of six
                  Jesuit priests, saying that El Salvadorans wish to move on.

                  Reopening the case "would be to open the door on a conflict that we have
                  left behind," Flores said at a news conference Thursday. "We Salvadorans
                  wish to turn the page."

                  Catholic priests and human rights groups have urged the government to
                  punish those responsible for killing the six clerics -- five Spanish priests and
                  a Salvadoran -- on Nov. 16, 1989, during El Salvador's 1979-1991 civil
                  war. The priests' housekeeper and her daughter also were slain.

                  The administration of then-President Alfredo Cristiani blamed the leftist rebel
                  Farabundo Marti National Liberation Force. But a U.S. congressional
                  investigation revealed that El Salvador's U.S.-backed military had roused the
                  group from their beds at the Central American University and shot them.

                  Nine members of an anti-rebel commando force were accused. A jury
                  absolved seven of the suspects. Two others were convicted but then freed
                  under an amnesty ordered by Cristiani.

                  Flores said the amnesty law established in 1992 peace accords remains

                    Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.