Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kenyan bishops still seek answers about 2000 death of US priest

Twelve years after U.S. Mill Hill Father John Kaiser was found murdered along a highway southwest of Nairobi, Kenyan church officials are still seeking answers.

"We, as the bishops and the entire Catholic fraternity here, long for a day where justice will be done on the issue," said Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth of Kisumu, chairman of the Kenyan bishops' justice and peace commission.

In an interview Aug. 23, Archbishop Okoth told Catholic News Service that he and Nairobi Cardinal John Njue had met with Kenya's attorney general, Githu Muigai, "who has assured us his willingness to reopen up the case" if "some freshness" can be found.

Father Kaiser often spoke out against Kenyan government abuses. When his body was found Aug. 24, 2000, the first police officers on the scene thought he had been murdered, but in 2001, the FBI ruled his death a suicide, and the Kenyan government agreed.

In 2007, after nearly four years, an inquest ruled that his death was not suicide, but murder. 

The presiding magistrate recommended new investigations.

At the end of the bishops' general meeting in mid-August, Cardinal Njue said the bishops continued "to pray that one day justice will be done on the death of this servant of God." 

He also said the bishops would continue to pressure the government "to do all that it takes to bring the killer or killers of our late brother Kaiser" to justice.

Archbishop Okoth told CNS that, this year, on Aug. 26, memorial services would be held throughout the country, not just in urban centers.

"This way, we shall manage to popularize his death and, in particular, the issues he stood for such as the rights of the people," explained Archbishop Okoth during the interview.

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