The Pope shows concern for the situation of Nicaraguan Bishop Rolando Álvarez


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.

A sign featuring Bishop Rolando Álvarez and Pope Francis hangs inside the Cathedral in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, on August 19, 2022. Five Catholic priests have been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of “conspiracy” in Nicaragua, according to reports. Monday, February 6, 2023. Photo: Inti Ocon, File, AP

“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.”

Supporters of Nicaraguan political prisoners clamor at the Washington Dulles International airport, in Chantilly, Virginia, United States, on Thursday, February 9, 2023.
Supporters of Nicaraguan political prisoners clamor at the Washington Dulles International airport, in Chantilly, Virginia, United States, on Thursday, February 9, 2023. Photo: José Luis Magana, AP

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.

Nicaraguan opposition leader Felix Maradiaga takes a selfie with supporters in Chantilly, Virginia, United States, Thursday, February 9, 2023.
Nicaraguan opposition leader Félix Maradiaga takes a selfie with supporters in Chantilly, Virginia, United States, Thursday, February 9, 2023. Photo: José Luis Magana, AP



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