The archbishop of Santiago, who heads the local Catholic Church, has exercised his right to silence after on Wednesday morning being summoned for questioning by a state prosecutor over allegations that he helped cover up child abuse.
Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati faces multiple charges, including some relating to the case of former archdiocese chancellor Oscar Munoz, who is facing trial on charges that he abused and raped at least five children.
Citing Ezzati as a suspect in July has proved particularly painful for church authorities and made his public appearances fraught with protests.
In July, he denied wrongdoing, saying in a statement: “I reiterate my commitment and the commitment of Santiago’s church to the victims. I have the conviction that I never covered up or obstructed justice and as a citizen will fulfill my duty to contribute all the information that may help clarify the facts.”
Ezzati attended a prearranged meeting with Prosecutor Emiliano Arias in the city of Rancagua, 80km south of Santiago, on Wednesday morning. The cardinal stayed just more than an hour and left smiling, but making no comment to reporters outside.
His lawyer, Hugo Rivera, told journalists that he would seek dismissal of the charges in a court hearing, a date for which has not yet been set.
“We are not dodging this,” he said. “For now the cardinal will not make any declaration until we discuss the petition to dismiss [the charges] with the prosecutors’ office.”
“We will discuss everything in public, in court, because we have nothing to hide,” Rivera added.
After his meeting with Ezzati, Arias told reporters that the cardinal’s decision not to submit to questioning brought “no adverse legal consequences.”
“It is a defense option and a legal right,” he said. “We will continue to take other statements and to investigate, and if necessary we will absolutely summon him again.”
He confirmed that the cardinal had been told of the charges he was facing, but said that those would not yet be revealed in public.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and