Nicaragua Releases 12 Catholic Priests, Exiles Them To Rome
Nicaragua Releases 12 Catholic Priests, Exiles Them To Rome: According to a recent report, Nicaragua has released 12 Catholic priests and sent them to Rome following negotiations with the Vatican. The clergy had been held as political prisoners in a country that persecutes all who are deemed critical of the current regime.
It was announced by the Nicaraguan government on Wednesday that the priests were released after “productive talks” with the Vatican and flown to Rome.
Matteo Bruni, the director of the press office for the Holy See, noted they would be accommodated in facilities belonging to the Diocese of Rome in Italy, according to a source.
Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, a high-ranking church official in Nicaragua, has not yet commented on the development, the newswire noted.
Six of the released priests were detained this month. The Organization of American States’ Human Rights Council condemned their arrest and called for the release of all political prisoners in Nicaragua.
According to the U.K.-based rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide, the remaining priests had been in custody for longer periods.
CSW’s Head of Advocacy, Anna Lee Stangl, said the priests’ release should not be seen as a goodwill gesture by the Nicaraguan government.
Stangl pleaded with the world community to hold Ortega and his government responsible for suppressing dissenting opinions. She noted that in exchange for their freedom, the priests’ citizenship was withdrawn, and they were forced to make the unfair decision to go to prison or exile.
Bishop Rolando Álvarez, who was sentenced to 26 years in prison in February, was not among those released, a source said.
He remains imprisoned in La Modelo Tititapa Prison.
In August 2022, Álvarez was put under house arrest and stripped of his Nicaraguan nationality and civil rights for life in February 2022.