Pope Francis calls for ‘peaceful coexistence’ and dialogue in Nicaragua

The police forcibly entered the bishop’s residence, where he had been under house arrest for two weeks, during the morning of August 19. Álvarez is an outspoken critic of President Daniel Ortega’s regime.

As of August 19, Álvarez was under house arrest in a residence of his relatives. Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua, was able to visit the arrested bishop on Friday.

Álvarez is the bishop of the diocese of Matagalpa, in north-central Nicaragua. Along with eight other people—priests, seminarians and lay people—the bishop had been forcibly confined to the chancellery since August 4, and forbidden to receive food or medicine.

The priests and seminarians were also removed from the chancellery on Friday and, according to the police, are being held “in the Judicial Assistance Directorate”, in a prison known as “El Chipote”, infamous for the torture of opponents of the dictatorship of Ortega. .

Since 2018, under the Ortega dictatorship, there have been more than 190 attacks against the Catholic Church, its bishops, priests, faithful and houses of worship, according to a report prepared by the lawyer Martha Patricia Molina Montenegro, member of the Pro-Observatory of Transparency and Anticorruption.

Ortega has repeatedly insulted Catholic bishops and priests, calling them “devils in cassocks”, “terrorists” and “coup-makers”.

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