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Bishop Suspect Attacked in Jail

August 1, 2000

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (AP) _ An army captain accused of killing a Roman Catholic bishop who was a vocal human rights campaigner was attacked and stabbed in the jail, officials said Tuesday.

Two people attacked Byron Lima Oliva late Monday, stabbing the army captain in the back, said prison director Basilio Hernandez.

Lima Oliva, a karate expert who was also trained in the Guatemalan military, fought back and wounded his two attackers, who had to be hospitalized.

Hernandez said officials were investigating whether the attack was an assassination attempt or a common prison fight.

Lima Oliva and his father, retired Col. Disrael Lima Estrada, along with Jose Obdulio Villanueva, a former presidential guard, are accused of killing Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi.

Gerardi, the head of the Roman Catholic Church’s human rights office, was clubbed to death April 26, 1998, at his seminary. The killing came two days after he released a major report blaming the military for most of the civilian deaths and human rights abuses committed in Guatemala’s 36-year civil war, which ended in 1996.

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