Monday 13 February 2023

Pope Francis Voices Support For Imprisoned Nicaraguan Bishop

 Pope Francis voiced his concern over the continued detention of Bishop Rolando Alvarez in Nicaragua on Sunday, according to Reuters.

“The news from Nicaragua has grieved me not a little and I cannot help but remember with concern the Bishop of Matagalpa, Monsignor Rolando Alvarez,” Pope Francis told a crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square, according to Reuters.

Alvarez received a prison sentence of over 26 years on Friday after refusing to board an amnesty flight Thursday to the United States with other political prisoners, Reuters reported. He is known for his vocal criticism of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

Ortega accused Catholic leaders who served as mediators amid deadly 2018 protests in the Central American country of attempting to overthrow his government, Reuters reported. The protests killed around 300 people.

The conviction of Alvarez, which included charges of treason and spreading false news among others, follows a broader pattern in Nicaragua that has included the expulsion of numerous Catholic nuns and missionaries, according to Reuters.

The Nicaraguan government, known for stifling political dissent, has also closed Catholic news outlets amid the broader crackdown, according to Reuters.

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