After a disputed judicial process in Managua, Ortega judge Nancy Aguirre Gudiel found the priest Óscar Danilo Benavides Dávila, parish priest of Mulukukú, guilty for the alleged crimes of “conspiracy to undermine national integrity and propagation of false news through the information and communication technologies”, manufactured by the Ortega judiciary, reported the local media CSI Mosaic.
Father Benavides, who turned 50 in December 2022, is originally from the municipality of San Isidro, Matagalpa, and is the parish priest of the Espíritu Santo parish, in Mulukukú, ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Diocese of Siuna, in the Autonomous Region of the North Caribbean coast.
The trial hearing was held in less than eight hours, from approximately 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on January 16.
The Prosecutor’s Office brought residents of Mulukukú, including prosecution witnesses and, as confirmed by Mosaico CSI, one of them did not even know Father Óscar Benavides.
Óscar Benavides, first priest convicted of conspiracy
The Catholic priest is the first to be sentenced for these crimes fabricated by the Ortega justice system, which holds a dozen religious as political prisoners, including the Bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando Álvarez, sent on January 10 to a political trial without precise date.
The lawyer and former official of the Nicaraguan judicial system, Yader Morazán, also confirmed the guilty plea against the priest and added: “He is the first priest ‘investigated’, accused, ‘tried’ and convicted who had a contrary position as judge and party ( victim) to the State itself”.
He is the first priest “investigated”, accused, “tried” and convicted who had the State itself against a position as judge and party (victim).
— Yader Morazán ⚖️ 🇳🇮 (@YaderMorazan) January 17, 2023
Two other priests have been previously convicted, but against them the justice system controlled by the ruling Sandinista Front used common crimes, including physical and sexual violence.
The informative magazine Mosaico CSi added that, in the pretrial hearing against the priest Benavides, the judge dismissed exculpatory evidence offered by the defense, including the testimony of the bishop of the diocese of Matagalpa, who has been in prison for more than five months. captivity and faces a different process, but for the same crimes.
In the accusation against Father Óscar Benavides, Monsignor Álvarez is designated as a “ringleader of illegal actions”, without any evidence of the accusation being known until now, while the Ortega justice system keeps his files sequestered.
After Judge Aguirre found Father Benavides guilty, she proceeded with the sentencing hearing. The Prosecutor’s Office requested the minimum sentences for both crimes: five years in prison for the alleged crime of conspiracy to undermine national integrity and three years in prison for the crime of spreading false news through information technology and communication. communication.
In Nicaragua, the kidnappings of religious began in August 2022, in a new repressive chapter of the Ortega regime against the Catholic Church. This wave of persecution was characterized by the intimidation of dozens of priests, causing the exile of more than half a dozen; the prohibition of processions; the police siege of churches in different parts of the country and the warning to priests to moderate the message shared with the parishioners through their homilies. A total of eleven parents were turned into prisoners of conscience: two are sentenced, eight in El Chipote and one at home in jail.
Daniel Ortega maintains more than 230 prisoners of conscience in different prisons in the countryand this Monday, January 9, in his first speech of the year, he assured that he will not release them, despite the constant demands for freedom from their relatives and the international community.