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Ranking prelates decline to testify at Vatileaks trial

May 16, 2016

Three leading Vatican officials declined to appear as witnesses in the "Vatileaks II" trial, invoking their rights under Vatican law.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State; Cardinal Santo Abril y Castello, the archpriest of St. Mary Major; and Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner; had all been called as witnesses by Francesca Chaouqui, one of the defendants in the case. Each prelate informed the Vatican tribunal that they would not appear, citing the Vatican code that says "public officials shall not be compelled to give evidence of what has been confided to them as part of their duty, other than in cases in which the law expressly obliges them to inform the public authorities."

Cardinal Parolin added a statement, saying that he had no information about the matters on which he had been called to testify. 

The decision of the three prelates not to testify, which was reported by the tribunal during a May 14 hearing, could fuel theories of conspiracy in an already murky case. Msgr. Angelo Vallejo Balda, a former Vatican official, has admitted that he gave journalists access to secret documents, but claimed that he acted under heavy pressure from Chaouqui.  

 
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