Journalist Manuel Obando was arrested on Sunday night, December 11, at his home in Matagalpa, reported journalist Emiliano Chamorro on his social networks. The controller of the closed TV Merced, from the Diocese of Matagalpa, Jorge Medal, also confirmed it on his Facebook account.
Manuel Obando is the official journalist of Monsignor Rolando Álvarez, a political prisoner and bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa, he always accompanied the cardinal on his visits to towns. He also covered the various attacks the bishop suffered before his capture. He was the official image of TV Merced.
“The journalist from the Diocese of Matagalpa, Manuel Obando, was kidnapped this Sunday night in a scandalous police operation. Obando has been a journalist for Monsignor Rolando Álvarez for several years. His whereabouts are unknown,” Chamorro denounced on his Twitter account.
“According to confidential information, at this time they are checking his cell phone (since his activity status appears online). Manuel has been a parishioner, graduated from the journalism career of the Juan Pablo Segundo Catholic University, has been the informative image of the media in Matagalapa by Bishop Monsignor Rolando Álvarez Lagos, as a presenter of TV Merced and broadcaster of digital content on digital platforms, and for Radio Hermanos,” Medal wrote on the social network.
“Attempting to use it” against Monsignor Álvarez
Anonymous sources point out that this capture “is not like that” and stress that the dictatorship “perhaps intends to use it for other purposes and accuse Monsignor Rolando (Alvarez) of crimes that they want to fabricate.”
Those who know Manuel Obando assure that he is a very good young man, noble and dedicated to the Church. In addition, he accompanied the Bishop of Matagalpa on various pastoral trips, including his trips to the Vatican.
«Today they capture him in Matagalpa, arbitrarily, without committing a crime or cause for detention. Being a communicator and worker in the media is not a crime,” Medal said.
The Ortega-Murillo dictatorship keeps a dozen priests, seminarians, deacons and laymen in prison accused of crimes of treason against the homeland; others were charged with crimes such as sexual assault. Most are detained at the Judicial Assistance Directorate (DAJ), known as “El Chipote”.
Monsignor Álvarez is the only religious who has been in “home custody” since August 19 when he was abducted from the Episcopal Palace of Matagalpa and taken to Managua where he is allegedly being held at the home of a relative. To date he has not been charged with any crime.