Nicaragua sentences Bishop Álvarez to 26 years in prison

Nicaraguan justice sentenced Catholic Bishop Rolando Álvarez on Friday to 26 years and four months in prison and stripped him of his nationality, according to official sources in Managua, a day after the religious leader refused to fly to the US with the another 222 released on Thursday.

The sentence imposed by magistrate Octavio Ernesto Rothschuh, of the Managua appeals court, which is the longest applied to dissidents and critics of the government of President Daniel Ortega in the last two years.

Álvarez was arrested in August along with other priests and citizens. Ortega said Thursday night that Álvarez refused to board the plane for Washington without first consulting with other bishops. Ortega considered it “absurd.”

The president said that Álvarez, who was under house arrest until then, was transferred to the nearby Modelo prison. His sentencing was scheduled for next week.

Consulted by The Associated Press, lawyer Vilma Núñez, president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), said that the judge “arbitrarily and at the last minute” added new crimes against Monsignor Álvarez that were not included in the initial sentence.

The original sentence mentioned the crimes of “conspiracy” and “propagation of false news”, to which the charges of “aggravated obstruction of functions” and “contempt” were later added.

to authority”.

Cenidh condemned via Twitter “the hatred and disqualifications with which Daniel Ortega referred to Monsignor Rolando Álvarez” on Thursday night.

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