Nicaraguan Bishop Rolando Álvarez is accused of conspiracy

The Nicaraguan Bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos, very critical of the government of President Daniel Ortega, was charged with the crimes of conspiracy to undermine national integrity and propagation of false news to the detriment of the Nicaraguan State and society, reported this Tuesday the Power of attorney.

"This Tuesday, December 13, 2022, in the Managua Criminal District Courts, an accusation filed by the Public Ministry was admitted for meeting the procedural requirements against Rolando José Álvarez Lagos"indicated the Press Department of the Managua Judicial Complex, through a public statement.

The source specified that the Catholic hierarch, bishop of the diocese of Matagalpa (north), was charged by the Nicaraguan Prosecutor’s Office for the crimes of conspiracy to undermine national integrity and propagation of false news through information technology. and communication to the detriment of the State and Nicaraguan society.

Likewise, the judicial authority, whose name was not specified, appointed a public defender for the Nicaraguan bishop, decreed house arrest and scheduled an initial hearing for January 10, 2023, according to the information.

In the same case, the priest Uriel Antonio Vallejos, "who is a fugitive from justice" and the judicial authority sent an official letter to Interpol for his capture, according to the judicial report.

THE FIRST BISHOP ARRESTED AND CHARGED IN NICARAGUA

Álvarez Lagos, 56, becomes the first bishop arrested and accused since Ortega returned to power in Nicaragua in 2007 after coordinating a Government Junta from 1979 to 1985 and presiding over the country for the first time from 1985 to 1990.

The hierarch, bishop of the diocese of Matagalpa, apostolic administrator of the diocese of Estelí, both in northern Nicaragua, was abducted at dawn on Friday, August 19, by police officers from the provincial episcopal palace along with four priests, two seminarians and a cameraman, after having been confined for 15 days.

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The Nicaraguan Police, led by Francisco Díaz, President Ortega’s in-law, accuses the high-ranking officer of trying to "organize violent groups"supposedly "with the purpose of destabilizing the State of Nicaragua and attacking the constitutional authorities".

Last October, Ortega attacked the Catholic Church led by Pope Francis, accusing it of not practicing democracy, of being a "dictatorship" and one "perfect tyranny" and having used "their bishops in Nicaragua to carry out a coup" to his Government in the framework of the demonstrations that broke out in April 2018 over controversial reforms to social security.

The arrest and accusation against the Nicaraguan bishop, seven other priests and two other collaborators is the most recent chapter of a particularly turbulent year for the Catholic Church in Nicaragua with the Ortega government, which has been branded as "putschists" Y "terrorists" to the hierarchs

TURNED YEAR FOR CATHOLIC CHURCH

This year, the Sandinista government expelled from the country the apostolic nuncio Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag and 18 nuns from the Missionaries of Charity order, founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

It has also imprisoned seven priests, shut down nine Catholic radio stations and removed three Catholic channels from subscription television programming.

The Police have also entered by force and raided a parish, preventing parishioners from receiving the Eucharist inside the temple and besieging other priests in their churches, among others.

Likewise, it prohibited the Archdiocese of Managua from carrying out the procession with the pilgrim image of the Virgin of Fatima, and other religious processions.

Relations between the Sandinistas and the Catholic Church in Nicaragua have been marked by friction and mistrust in the last 43 years.

The Catholic community represents 58.5% of the 6.6 million inhabitants of Nicaragua, according to the last national census.

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