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Salvadoran protesters demand archbishop clarify fate of documents
Catholic News Service

SAN SALVADOR — Social organizations demonstrated to demand San Salvador Archbishop Jose Escobar Alas clarify the fate of thousands of documents containing information on human rights violations.

The documents have been in limbo since his Sept. 30 decision to close Tutela Legal, the office that guarded them since 1982.

The archbishop said he decided to shut down the archdiocesan legal aid office after finding cases of embezzlement and corruption, but he did not show any evidence to the press.

"The case of my missing mother, Margarita Pascasio, is on those files," Nora Lopez, SOS Justice member, told Catholic News Service during the protest by several human rights movements Oct. 6 in front of the San Salvador cathedral, where the archbishop celebrated Mass.

Tutela Legal investigated war crimes during the 1980-92 Salvadoran civil war. Protesters believe that Tutela Legal houses about 50,000 files containing evidence of war crimes.

The archbishop has faced criticism from social organizations because they fear that the documents have been altered or missing, especially now that the Supreme Court is going to study whether the Amnesty Law, passed by Congress in 1993, is unconstitutional. The Amnesty Law has prevented military officers accused of human right violations from standing trial.

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