Government of Nicaragua shows Bishop Rolando Álvarez after the opposition requested "a proof of life"

Bishop Rolando Álvarez released in Nicaragua: sources

Nicaraguan Catholic Bishop Rolando Álvarez was released from prison on Monday night, a diplomatic source said, marking a potential turning point in the government’s long-running crackdown on the Catholic Church.

The diplomatic source said on Tuesday that negotiations were underway between the government and the country’s Catholic bishops on the future of Álvarez, and that the prelate was in the Catholic episcopal compound in the capital.

The source, who declined to be named, added that the talks included the possibility that the bishop could be expelled from the Central American country or sent into exile.

The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Álvarez’s release after normal business hours on Tuesday.

If the bishop refuses to leave the country, he could be returned to prison, the source said.

Earlier that day, the news outlet Confidential reported that Álvarez had been released Monday night, citing church and diplomatic sources.

Álvarez, the bishop of rural Matagalpa and a prominent critic of President Daniel Ortega, was jailed last year and this year was sentenced to 26 years in prison on treason charges after he refused to be removed to the United States.

Formal ties between the Nicaraguan government and the Vatican were severed this year after Pope Francis called the government of President Daniel Ortega a dictatorship.

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