January 22, 2000
Guatemala charges army officer, ex-officer in bishop's killing

                  GUATEMALA CITY (AP) -- Police have arrested an army captain and his
                  father, a retired colonel, for the 1998 slaying of a Roman Catholic bishop
                  whose office had issued a human rights report critical of the military.

                  National Civil Police arrested Capt. Byron Lima Oliva and his father, retired
                  Col. Disrael Lima Estrada, on Friday and took them under heavy guard to a
                  Guatemala City prison.

                  Police spokesman Gerson Lopez said police also re-arrested a church cook,
                  Margarita Lopez, who had been jailed by investigators for five days in July

                  Lima and his father are accused of killing Bishop Juan Gerardi. Lopez was
                  re-arrested as part of the investigation, but it was unclear what charges she
                  might face.

                  Gerardi was bludgeoned to death in his garage on April 26, 1998, two days
                  after he presented a report blaming the military and pro-government death
                  squads for most of the deaths during Guatemala's 36-year civil war.

                  The case drew international attention as the first slaying of a religious figure
                  and political activist since the government and leftist guerrillas signed peace
                  accords two years earlier.

                  Friday's arrests come one week after President Alfonso Portillo took office.
                  Portillo, a former Marxist scholar with ties to a right-wing former dictator,
                  had promised to resolve the Gerardi slaying. The Human Rights Office of the
                  Archbishop, formerly led by Gerardi, had given him six months to do so.

                  Officials in the church's human rights office long have accused army officers
                  of involvement in the killing. They say a car seen near the crime scene was
                  linked to the military.

                    Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.