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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/8/2014 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Corupt government critical of priest

Father Antonio Rodriguez, a Spanish Passionist, will remain in jail after a judge in El Salvador ruled that he was guilty of various crimes regarding gang activities.

Father Antonio Rodriguez a Spanish Passionist also known as Padre Tono, was arrested for bringing cell phones to gang members held inside prison.

Father Antonio Rodriguez a Spanish Passionist also known as Padre Tono, was arrested for bringing cell phones to gang members held inside prison.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/8/2014 (10 months ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: El Salvador, International


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rodriguez, also known as Padre Tono, is well known for rehabilitating gang members, but was charged in late July with several offenses, including illicit associations, influence peddling and introducing prohibited items-including mobile phones-into prisons where members of the Barrio 18 or Calle 18 gang are held. He was arrested after a massive police raid against 127 Salvadorian gang members.

No man of God should be punished for bringing light into the darkness.

Rodriguez was granted parole on August 4, but was arrested again by the attorney general's office with new charges a day later and is now being held by the national civil police.

"I do not understand why (the attorney general) has arrested me, and not Francisco Flores", he told local media, referencing the former Salvadoran president who is accused of various corruption charges.

"Father Tono's attitude has been always controversial, and to the eyes of many people, it is normal to regard these things as politics," Passionist Father Gerardo Mendez said. "This is a form of persecution."

"Tono knew the risks" of criticizing Salvadoran authorities, he added.

Rodriguez has run rehabilitation projects in Mejicanos, a suburb of San Salvador for years.

The day before Rodriguez was paroled, hundreds marched in the Spanish town of Daimiel, where he was born, in order to show their support for the detained priest.

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