Nicaraguan Justice Accuses Priests and Seminarians Close to Bishop Rolando Álvarez

Nicaraguan Justice Accuses Priests and Seminarians Close to Bishop Rolando Álvarez

The Nicaraguan justice system, accused of being controlled by President Daniel Ortega, accused three priests, a deacon, two seminarians and a cameraman who were locked up together with Monsignor Rolando Álvarez in the Matagalpa archiepiscopal curia – northeast of Managua – after that the National Police announced an alleged investigation against him.

Those accused on Friday are the priests Ramiro Tijerino, Sadiel Eugarrios and José Luis Díaz, as well as the deacon Raúl Antonio Vega, the seminarians Darvin Leiva Mendoza and Melkin Centeno, as well as the photojournalist of the Diocese of Matagalpa, Sergio Cadena Flores.

All of them are in the maximum security prison in Nicaragua, known as El Chipote since August 19, while Monsignor Rolando Álvarez is under house arrest, despite the fact that at the moment there is no formal accusation against him.

Although the charges against the detainees are unknown, the State of Nicaragua appears as a “victim”, as reflected by the Judiciary, for which the specialist in the Administration of Justice, Yader Morazán, assures that everything points to the crime for which the They are going to accuse is that of undermining national integrity established in Law 1055. This Law has been used to imprison and sentence more than 200 political prisoners currently in the country.

There is not even an appearance of legality, says expert Yader Morazán

Morazán points out that there are patterns that indicate that these new detainees also have “political processes precisely because they do not even enjoy the appearance of legality.”

“The procedural treatment that has been given to them has been totally arbitrary. Hearings have been held in secrecy, they are people who are not even allowed access to them through communication with family members or their defense attorneys and, there are even worse situations where they are not allowed food or medicine to enter the torture centers where they are at the moment,” said Morazán, who was an official of the Nicaraguan Judicial Branch,

This judicial action occurs at a time when President Daniel Ortega began a persecution against the Catholic Church which questioned the president since 2018 when protests arose against him. The Church took a critical stance by asking him to respect human rights, which is why he called them “devils in cassocks.”

More priests in exile: Parish priest Erick Díaz leaves the country

But this year the persecution intensified and in less than six months at least seven priests have been arrested, while on the other hand Ortega has also expelled the representative of Pope Francis in Managua, in this case the nuncio Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag.

Also Ortega has closed several radios and television channels belonging to the Catholic Church and has forced into exile several priests critical of his management, such as Monsignor Silvio Báez, and Edwin Román.

The most recent exile of a priest occurred this week, after the parish priest Erick Díaz announced that he was exiled from Nicaragua “to safeguard” his life and freedom.

“My only crime was being on the side of truth, on the side of the long-suffering people, in defense of the rights of every citizen. The Church has never been defending ideas, because that is not its mission. Because a priest has never wanted (and will never want) to be a mayor, councilor or deputy. A bishop has never wanted to be president, or any other public service, since we are pastors and it is the best gift that God in Jesus Christ has given us,” he wrote. priest on Facebook.

Pope Francis has spoken about the crisis in Nicaragua and has said that there is a dialogue with the authorities.

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