Salvadoran Man on Trial in California

August 27, 2004

FRESNO, Calif. – ASalvadoran manwho allegedly helped arrange the 1980assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romeroof El Salvador is on trial for murder thisweek in Fresno, Calif., under two federalstatutes permitting lawsuits against foreignnationals in the United States for summarykillings and torture committed abroad,reported California’s San Mateo CountyTimes.Alvaro Rafael Saravia, a formerSalvadoran military captain who has beenliving in Florida and California since themid 1980s, is facing murder charges presentedlast September by the San Francis co-basedCenter for Justice and Accountabilityand an area law firm representing a survivingmember of Romero’s family in ElSalvador.The case alleges that Saravia suppliedthe weapon, vehicle and payment forRomero’s assassination, the paper reported.Saravia was detained in the UnitedStates in 1987 for 14 months whileSalvadoran prosecutors tried unsuccessfullyto have him extradited, according to the SanMateo County Times.Romero was gunned down in churchwhile saying mass in San Salvador March24, 1980. Saravia’s trial is expected to endtoday.

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