In the biggest recent blow by Nicaraguan justice against the Catholic Church, which Daniel Ortega has accused of supporting his opponents, Magistrate Octavio Ernesto Rothschuh imposed the sentence for the crimes of conspiracy, spreading false news, obstruction of justice and contempt for authority.
VATICAN CITY (AP).— The Pope Francisco expressed on Sunday his worry due to the fact that he Nicaraguan Bishop Rolando Álvareza critic of the Nicaraguan governmentwas sentenced to 26 years in jail in the most recent measure of that Government against Catholic Church and the opposition.
alvarez was sentenced on Friday after refusing to board a plane to the United States with 222 other prisoners, all opponents of President Daniel Ortega. Besides the jail sentance, alvarez he was stripped of his Nicaraguan citizenship.
“The news that has come from Nicaragua has saddened me and not a little,” the pontiff declared in Saint Peter’s Square to the crowd gathered for the traditional Sunday blessing.
The Pope expressed his love and concern for Álvarez and called on the faithful to pray that politicians “open their hearts.”
Álvarez was arrested in August of last year along with several other priests and laymen. Ortega ordered the mass release of politicians, priests, students and activists widely considered political prisoners, sending some of them on a flight to Washington on Thursday. Ortega said Álvarez refused to board the plane without being able to consult with other bishops.
Álvarez, who was under house arrest, was taken to the nearby Modelo prison.