Rashad Hussain: Nicaraguan parishioners "afraid" to express their faith or attend mass

Rashad Hussain: Nicaraguan parishioners “afraid” to express their faith or attend mass

The escalation of repression against the Catholic Church in Nicaragua has caused parishioners fear” that, attend mass or publicly express their faith or loyalty to the Catholic Churchthem I can put a target on the back” and are attacked by the National Police or fanatics of the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, according to Rashad Hussain, United States Ambassador General for Religious Liberty.

During a forum on religious freedom in Nicaraguaheld within the framework of the 77th United Nations General Assembly, the US official commented: I have seen with sadness and grave concern that the Ortega-Murillo authorities continued to oppress all segments of civil society, including journalists, human rights defenders, workers, opposition activists, and religious leaders and actors. However, the sharp increase in attacks against the Catholic Church and its supporters is particularly alarming..

In recent months, the Ortega and Murillo regime undertook a series of repressive acts against the Nicaraguan Catholic Churchleaving so far: seven priests, two seminarians and a layman imprisoned, 18 religious taken out of the country, Bishop Rolando José Álvarez under house arrest and the closure of a dozen religious media. In addition, the Sandinista government expelled the apostolic nuncio Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag from the country.

The National Police also has prohibited the celebration of processionsentered by force and raided a parish, prevented parishioners from receiving the Eucharist inside the temple and besieged other priests in their churches.

These and other attacks against the Catholic Church are designed to intimidate and silence Church leaders and their followers from expressing any belief that is contrary to the authoritarian Ortega-Murillo regime.Hussain noted.

Defenders denounce judicialization against religious

Lawyers Juan Carlos Arce, from the Nicaragua Never Again Collective, and Leyla Prado, from the Permanent Commission on Human Rights (CPDH), participated as panelists in the forum and denounced the criminalization and prosecution of Nicaraguan religious and the curtailment of religious freedom in Nicaragua.

The regime’s justice has passed sentence against two priests. The first was the priest Manuel Garcia Rodriguez, sentenced to two years in prison for allegedly raping a woman; the second, Monsignor Leonardo Urbina, He was sentenced to thirty years in prison for the alleged rape of a teenager.

The third is the priest Oscar Benavidez, that is being investigated for ninety days by the Prosecutor’s Office due to a “phantom” crime, but of which the State of Nicaragua recognizes itself as “victim and offended”.

There is a common situation against priests who have been sentenced and it is the fact that they have been singled out as aggressors of situations, in which priests have been singled out over time, putting women or minors as victims.said the human rights defender, who assured that Rodríguez and Urbina were sentenced in trials spurious, illegal and contradictory.

Hussain demanded that the Nicaraguan regime release those you have wrongfully detained so they can return to their pastoral missions and reminded him that the country has a long tradition of religious freedom and interreligious harmonytherefore, considered, a return to those values ​​would benefit all Nicaraguans.

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