Nicaraguan priests ask that the persecution of the Catholic Church "end"

priests from different dioceses Nicaragua They asked the national government this Friday to “stop the persecution of the Churchcatholicwhich in recent months has seen how two members of the clergy were arrested and two others were besieged in their parish houses, including Bishop Rolando Álvarez, one of the most critical of the president Daniel Ortega.

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“We urge the country’s authorities to respect freedom of expression and religion in our homeland. Stop the persecution of the Church”, exposed in a public message the priests of the diocese of Siuna (northern Caribbean), in which they offered their support to the bishop, besieged by police since Wednesday in the city of Matagalpa (north).

The relationships between Catholic Church and Ortegahistorically cracked, recently worsened with the arrest and subsequent conviction of the father Manuel Salvador Garcia Rodriguez for alleged violence against a woman, the capture of the priest Leonardo Urbina for alleged abuse of a minor, as well as the fences around the priest Uriel Vallejos and Bishop Álvarez.

Garcia, parish priest of Nandaime (Pacific) He was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for allegedly assaulting a woman, who was arrested for denying the assault.

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Urbina, priest in Boaco (center)faces charges for the alleged rape of a 12-year-old girl, whose complainants have been identified by the opposition as followers of Ortega.

Vallejos was held in a parish dormitory, where police officers They entered by force to occupy equipment from a Catholic radio station canceled by the authorities.

While Álvarez, in charge of the area of Communication from the Episcopal Conference of NicaraguaBishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and apostolic administrator of the diocese of Estelí, was besieged by police after criticizing the closure of Catholic radio stations.

The relations found between the Government and the Catholic Church They worsened this week after the authorities ordered the closure of ten media outlets, among these eight Catholics, which were under the direction of Álvarez.

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“We call on the civil authorities of this country to cease the abuses that they have been committing without just cause against the Church that pilgrims in Nicaragua. We trust that sanity prevails, and that these coercive manifestations of the fundamental human rightspointed out, for his part, the diocese of Matagalpa.

“We demand that you respect the Political Constitution of the Republicthat these manifestations of hatred and violence cease and you can live and work in peace”, he added.

For its part, the College of Consultants of the Diocese of Estelí said to continue “With great concern the course of events that are saddening our country and hindering the exercise of the evangelizing mission of the brother clergy of the diocese of Matagalpa”.

With 58.5% of believers, the Catholic Church is the religion with the most followers in Nicaraguaaccording to the latest national census.

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Nicaragua is experiencing a crisis that, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) left at least 355 dead in 2018, of which Ortega admitted 200 and alleged that he was defending himself from a supposed coup d’état.

The crisis worsened with the elections last November, when Ortega and his wife, the vice president Rosario Murillowere re-elected to their positions, in a process criticized because seven of their potential rivals were arrested and two fled into exile.

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