Feature

Who killed El Salvador’s archbishop?

The week's news at a glance.

Fresno, Calif.

A federal judge ruled this week that a retired Salvadoran air force captain living in California—Alvaro Rafael Saravia—was liable for the 1980 murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero. A sniper shot Romero as he celebrated Mass, but the killer was never caught. A San Francisco human rights organization filed a lawsuit accusing Saravia of plotting the murder with his boss, the late Maj. Roberto D’Abuisson. Days before the killing, D’Abuisson had condemned the archbishop for accusing the government of excessive violence in its war against leftist guerrillas. Saravia didn’t show up for the trial, but Judge Oliver Wanger ordered him to pay $10 million in damages. “To be liable for the killing of a human being,” Wanger said, “you don’t have to pull the trigger.”

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