Nicaragua: Second Bishop Arrested In Escalating Crackdown On Catholic Church
Nicaraguan authorities apprehended a second bishop on Thursday (local time) in an extensive crackdown on opposition figures and the Catholic Church led by President Daniel Ortega’s government, CNN reported, citing sources.
Bishop Isidoro Mora, from the Siuna church on the Caribbean coast, was arrested after participating in a mass commemorating the anniversary of the Matagalpa church, the sources added.
CNN has sought further details on Mora’s legal situation and arrest from the Nicaraguan government.
A source, requesting anonymity due to potential backlash, witnessed the moments leading up to the arrest and mentioned that Mora had briefly discussed detained bishop and government critic Rolando Alvarez during a homily. Mora was quoted as saying, “We are here praying for Matagalpa church, praying for Bishop Rolando,” adding, “Unfortunately, (Mora) was arrested the next day.”
Alvarez, the bishop of Matagalpa, is serving a 26-year prison sentence for charges including conspiracy and treason. He refused to leave the country with 200 others opposing the government.
The condition of Mora since the arrest remains unknown, as per one source.
The other source told CNN the “persecution against the church in Nicaragua is very strong. We shut up because if we say something we face threats. We know the world knows, but we suffer the pain.”
Since 2018, tens of thousands of Nicaraguans have fled the country to escape persecution when Ortega’s government suppressed widespread anti-regime protests, resulting in numerous deaths, injuries, and arbitrary detentions, according to Human Rights Watch.
Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo view the Catholic Church as opposition forces, labelling the protests as an “attempted coup.”
Mora’s arrest follows the expulsion of two Costa Rican nuns from Nicaragua in April after praying for Alvarez.
Yader Morazan, an expert in Nicaragua’s judiciary system, highlighted a “repressive pattern” against the Catholic Church, with dozens of priests and laymen jailed, and over 200 people, including priests and nuns, expelled or blocked from returning.
A news release from state-owned website El19digital on Monday reported the arrest of 11 people linked to Christian organisations accused of money laundering.
Ortega secured a fifth term as president in 2021. His government, citing a vague national security law, began detaining opposition figures, journalists, and activists ahead of the elections in June of that year, CNN reported. (ANI)
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