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Image: ADF International
UK News

Human rights demanded for 11 pastors held after 'sham trial'

by Premier Journalist

A human rights organisation has called upon the Nicaraguan government to protect the lives of eleven pastors jailed on “sham charges”, as senators press President Biden to sanction the country.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has demanded that the captives – including a woman who has given birth and reportedly not received adequate medical care or food – are shown basic human rights.

The Christians were arrested four months ago on suspicion of money laundering, and have been barred from contacting family or lawyers.

They deny the charges, but some have been given 15-year sentences and fined 80 million dollars.

The trial contained no evidence of wrongdoing, according to legal advocacy group ADF.

The pastors’ lawyers said they have not been given charging documents in order to prepare a defence.

The Nicaraguan police issued statements to the media accusing the eleven pastors, who worked with church planting and discipleship organisation Puerta de la Montaña (Mountain Gateway), of using their organisation as a front, while purchasing assets.

The Nicaraguan government also revoked Puerta de la Montaña’s registration as a ministry and seized all of the ministry’s Nicaraguan property and assets. 

ADF International petitioned the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to press the Nicaraguan government to protect the human rights of those held.

Kristina Hjelkrem, ADF legal counsel, said: “We are grateful to the Inter-American Commission for their expedited intervention on behalf of the 11 pastors and ministry leaders.

“No person should be imprisoned or punished for their faith, but that is exactly what has happened with these religious leaders. It is our prayer that Nicaraguan authorities will uphold the human rights and dignity of these pastors, and that they will release them from their wrongful imprisonment.”

A letter calling for the release of the pastors, from the Texas-based organisation, has been signed by 58 members of congress and sent to the Ambassador for Nicaragua.

Several members of the US Senate are also calling on the Biden administration to put Nicaragua under strong sanctions for their human rights abuses.

 

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