Nicaragua forces Catholic bishop to stay under house arrest


Bishop Rolando José Álvarez of the Diocese of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, was placed under house arrest by the police of Daniel Ortega’s regime in early August 2022. / Photo credit: Diocese of Matagalpa

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Dec 14, 2022 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

A Nicaraguan court is ordering a Catholic bishop to remain under house arrest on charges of “conspiracy” and “spreading false news,” the Associated Press reported Wednesday, citing a government media site.

According to the website, El 19 Digital, the court also charged Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa with “damaging the Nicaraguan government and society.”

His first hearing is slated for Jan. 10.

Álvarez was first placed under house arrest in August. Riot police prevented the bishop — along with priests, seminarians, and a layman — from leaving the chancery in Matagalpa from Aug. 4 to Aug. 19. At that point, the police of the Nicaraguan dictatorship, led by President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, abducted Álvarez and took him to Managua, the country’s capital, where he remains.

Previously, according to local media, the charges against Álvarez were unknown.

In September, the European Parliament approved a resolution by a vote of 538 to 16 demanding the immediate release of the bishop.

The night the bishop was taken into custody, other priests, seminarians, and a layman also were arrested and placed in the El Chipote prison, known for torturing opponents of the regime.

Those imprisoned, from the Diocese of Matagalpa, are Fathers Ramiro Tijerino, José Luis Diaz, Sadiel Eugarrios, and Raúl González; seminarians Darvin Leyva and Melquín Sequeira, and cameraman Sergio Cárdenas.

Another priest who is being held in El Chipote is Father Oscar Benavidez of the Diocese of Siuna.

Álvarez, the AP reported Wednesday, has been an important religious voice in discussions of Nicaragua’s future since 2018 when a series of protests against Ortega’s government resulted in a crackdown on opponents.

The news outlet also reported that a warrant was issued for a priest, Father Uriel Vallejos, who has reportedly fled the country.

The court’s move comes after Ortega’s administration expelled religious sisters from the Sisters of Charity and the papal nuncio, the Vatican’s representative in Nicaragua.

In August, Pope Francis called for “peaceful coexistence” between people and institutions in Nicaragua. A month later, Ortega verbally attacked the pontiff and said that the Catholic Church is “the perfect dictatorship” during a public event in Managua.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Catholic News Agency 10245 Articles
Catholic News Agency (

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Nicaragua forces Catholic bishop to stay under house arrest | Franciscan Sisters of St Joseph (FSJ) , Asumbi Sisters Kenya

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.