MEXICO CITY — Nicaragua's authorities stated Sunday it had freed a distinguished Catholic bishop and 18 different clergy members jailed throughout a crackdown by President Daniel Ortega and handed them over to Vatican authorities.
Bishop Rolando Álvarez and different clergy have been jailed greater than a yr in the past, largely as a part of Ortega's crackdown on the opposition and the Catholic Church. He had accused them of supporting mass civic protests in 2018 that he claimed have been a plot to overthrow him.
The federal government stated in a press assertion that the releases have been a part of negotiations with the Vatican aimed toward “making doable his journey to the Vatican”. Previously, imprisoned monks have been shortly flown to Rome.
Ortega's authorities stated these launched on Sunday additionally included Bishop Isidoro Mora.
Ortega despatched 222 prisoners to the US in February in a deal negotiated by the US authorities and later stripped these prisoners of their citizenship.
Bishop Álvarez has been in jail for over a yr after being convicted of conspiracy and receiving a 26-year jail sentence. One of the vital honest members of the clergy within the nation, he had refused to take the February flight to the US with out with the ability to seek the advice of with different bishops.
In October, Nicaragua launched a dozen Catholic monks jailed on a wide range of costs and despatched them to Rome after an settlement with the Vatican.
Since cracking down on well-liked protests in 2018 that referred to as for his resignation, Ortega's authorities has systematically silenced opposing voices and centered on the church, together with confiscating the celebrated College of Central America run by the Jesuits in August.
Nicaragua's Congress, dominated by Ortega's Sandinista Nationwide Liberation Entrance, has ordered the closure of greater than 3,000 non-governmental organizations, together with Mom Teresa's charity.