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Tuesday, February 16, 1999 Published at 23:07 GMT

World: Americas

Guatemala trial deadline

. A judge in Guatemala is due to decide by Wednesday whether a Roman Catholic priest should go on trial for the murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi, or be set free.

During a hearing today, prosecutors said they had new evidence, based on DNA tests carried out by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation last year.

The Roman Catholic Church in Guatemala and human rights groups say the priest, Mario Orantes, is innocent and should be released immediately.

Bishop Gerardi was killed just days after publishing a report denouncing human rights abuses by the army during the country's civil war.

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