Pope Silent over French Priest's Murder in Argentina: Lawyer
March 14, 2013
A French judge had sought the testimony of the new pope over the killing of a French priest in 1976 during Argentina's brutal dictatorship but Buenos Aires snubbed her, a lawyer said Thursday.
Judge Sylvie Caillard had wanted Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to testify in 2011 in the investigation of French priest Gabriel Longueville but "the Argentinian authorities did not respond positively," said Sophie Thonon, the lawyer for Longueville's family.
Thonon said this was deemed necessary to cast light on whether there were any archival material on the murder.
"This pope is certainly not a great figure in the defence of human rights," Thonon said.
"On the contrary, he is suspected of not having denounced the crimes of the dictatorship and not having demanded explanations and therefore covered up these acts by his silence."
Longueville, the priest of the parish of El Chamical in the northwestern province of La Rioja was abducted along with his curate Carlos Murias on July 17, 1976. Their bullet riddled bodies were found the following day.
They had also been tortured.
Two former Argentinian soldiers and an ex-police officer were charged last December with the killings.
Bergoglio has spent almost his entire career in Latin America. He fought to stop the Church from siding with the leftist opposition during Argentina's military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.