Four Nicaraguan Catholic priests were declared Thursday guilty of the crimes of conspiracy to national integrity e spread of fake news to the detriment of the State of Nicaragua and society, he denounced the Legal Defense Unit, which defended the religious.
The four prelates were found guilty together with two seminarians and a cameraman of the diocese of Matagalpa (northern Nicaragua), by judge Nadia Camila Tardencilla, head of the second district criminal court of Managua, after four days of hearings in a trial that ended this Thursday.
The judge found the priests guilty. Ramiro Tijerinorector of the Juan Pablo II University and head of the San Juan Bautista parish; José Luis Diaz and Sadiel Eugarriosrespectively first and second vicar of the Cathedral of Matagalpa de San Pedro, and deacon Raúl Vega González.
Also to the seminarians Darvin Leiva Mendoza and Melkin Centeno, and to the cameraman Sergio Cárdenas.
ten years in prison
The Nicaraguan Attorney’s Office He asked for 10 days in prison and a fine of 800 days for the four priests, the two seminarians and the cameraman.
The judge set the sentencing hearing for February 3.
The group of religious and lay people, together with Mons. Rolando Álvarez, They were arrested at dawn on Friday 19 August. by police officers in the bishop’s palace of the diocese of Matagalpa, after being locked up for 15 days, and have since been in the police prison “El Chipote”officially called Directorate of Judicial Aid, with the exception of the Bishop who is under “domestic protection”.
Human rights organization condemns ‘outrage’
The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh), critical of the Executive, condemned the conviction of the religious and he blamed President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, for that ruling.
According to this body, which has cataloged the four days of “judicial torture” trial.both the sentence and the sentence request “were issued by El Carmen” –where the presidential couple resides–,”with the desire to sow terror and show who has the power” in Nicaragua.
“From Cenidh we condemn this violation of human rights and due process guarantees,” continued that organization, which is part of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).
“This fact poses a challenge to the leaders of the Catholic Church. We ask them to react. They can no longer be silent. Practically the regime has imprisoned an entire diocese. We invite you to stand by the believers who are outraged,” said Cenidh, who was outlawed as an NGO by order of the Ortega government.
A bishop critical of the government awaiting the sentence
The case of Bishop Rolando Álvarez, very critical of the government of Daniel Ortega, will be indicted to answer for the same crimeson a date not yet specified.
Álvarez, 56, is bishop of the diocese of Matagalpa and apostolic administrator of the diocese of Estelí, both in northern Nicaragua.
The hierarch, who presented himself at the hearings without his religious habithe is the first bishop arrested and charged since Ortega returned to power in Nicaragua in 2007. He has been detained since 19 August.
On December 13, the Nicaraguan public prosecutor accused Bishop Álvarez, as well as the exiled priest Uriel Antonio Vallejos, of having alleged crimes of criminal association and dissemination of false news.
The Nicaraguan police, led by Francisco Díaz, father-in-law of President Ortega, accuses the senior officer of having attempted to “organize violent groups”, presumably “with the aim of destabilizing the state of Nicaragua and attacking the constitutional authorities”.
Relations between the Sandinistas and the Catholic Church in Nicaragua have been marked by friction and mistrust for the past 43 and a half years.
The The Catholic community represents 58.5% of the 6.6 million inhabitants of Nicaragua, according to the last national census.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.