MEXICO CITY — Nicaragua’s authorities mentioned Sunday it launched a outstanding Catholic bishop and 18 different clergy members imprisoned in a crackdown by President Daniel Ortega and handed them over to Vatican authorities.
Bishop Rolando Álvarez and the opposite clergy had been jailed greater than a yr in the past, typically, as a part of a crackdown on the opposition and Catholic Church by Ortega. He had accused them of supporting large 2018 civic protests that he claimed had been a plot to overthrow him.
The federal government mentioned in a press assertion the releases had been a part of negotiations with the Vatican geared toward “making attainable their journey to the Vatican.” Previously, imprisoned monks have been shortly flown to Rome.
Ortega’s authorities mentioned these launched Sunday additionally included Bishop Isidoro Mora.
Ortega despatched 222 prisoners to the US in February in a deal brokered by the U.S. authorities and later stripped these prisoners of their citizenship.
Bishop Álvarez has remained in jail for greater than a yr after being convicted of conspiracy and receiving a 26-year jail sentence. One of many nation’s most outspoken clergy members, had refused to get on the February flight to the U.S. with out with the ability to seek the advice of with different bishops.
In October, Nicaragua launched a dozen Catholic monks jailed on quite a lot of prices and despatched them to Rome following an settlement with the Vatican.
Since repressing well-liked protests in 2018 that referred to as for his resignation, Ortega’s authorities has systematically silenced opposing voices and zeroed in on the church, together with confiscating the distinguished Jesuit-run College of Central America in August.
Nicaragua’s Congress, dominated by Ortega’s Sandinista Nationwide Liberation Entrance, has ordered the closure of greater than 3,000 nongovernmental organizations, together with Mom Teresa’s charity.