Rolando Alvarez, bishop of the diocese of Matagalpa and Estelí and critic of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, poses for a photo at a Catholic church where he is taking refuge claiming to have been persecuted by the police, in Managua, Nicaragua May 20, 2022. REUTERS /Maynor Valenzuela/Archive
The Nicaraguan Justice scheduled for March 28 the start of the trial of Bishop Rolando Álvarez, accused of the crimes of conspiracy to undermine national integrity and propagation of false news to the detriment of the State and society of Nicaragua, reported this Friday the Power of attorney.
The judge of the second criminal district court of Managua, Nidia Camila Tardencilla, will be in charge of the trial against the chief, who has been detained since last August 19 and is the first bishop arrested and accused since the former Sandinista guerrilla Daniel Ortega returned to power in Nicaragua in 2007.
According to the judicial file of the case, the lawyer Norvin Danilo Cruz Ponce, representing the Prosecutor’s Office, presented last Tuesday the brief for the exchange of information and evidence to Judge Tardencilla.
Meanwhile, the technical defense of Bishop Álvarez requested a copy of the document from the court.
Among the 12 witnesses who will testify against the bishop, who is highly critical of the Ortega regime, there are three policemen, two state workers and Sandinista sympathizers, according to general data on the matter published by the Judiciary.
Daniel Ortega delivers a speech during an extraordinary session of the National Assembly of the Popular Power of Cuba in commemoration of the 18th anniversary of the creation of ALBA-TCP at the Convention Center in Havana, Cuba, December 14, 2022. Yamil Lage/ Pool via REUTERS/File
First Bishop Arrested and Charged in Nicaragua
On December 13, the Nicaraguan Public Ministry accused Bishop Álvarez and the exiled priest Uriel Antonio Vallejos for the crimes of conspiracy and propagation of false news.
The prelate was taken without his religious clothing to the initial hearing, held at the Managua Judicial Complex, on January 10.
Álvarez Lagos, 56, is bishop of the Diocese of Matagalpa and apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Estelí, both in northern Nicaragua.
The Bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando Álvarez, a critic of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega who has been under house arrest for two weeks, “is in good health” and asks that you “pray for him,” Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes said on Sunday after his homily. Armando Acevedo/AFP/File
He was abducted in the early hours of Friday, August 19, by police officers from the provincial episcopal palace along with four priests, two seminarians and a cameraman, after having been confined for 15 days.
The Nicaraguan Police, led by Francisco Díaz, President Ortega’s in-law, accuses the high-ranking officer of trying to “organize violent groups”, supposedly “with the purpose of destabilizing the State of Nicaragua and attacking the constitutional authorities”, although he has not offered evidence.
Relations between the Sandinistas and the Catholic Church in Nicaragua have been marked by friction and mistrust in the last 43 years.
The Catholic community represents 58.5% of the 6.6 million inhabitants of Nicaragua, according to the latest national census.
(With information from EFE)
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