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Fr Rolando Lopez Nicaragua.PNG
Diocesis Matagalpa
World News

Bishop under house arrest for criticising gov charged with conspiracy

by Kelly Valencia

 A Nicaraguan bishop who has been in custody since August for criticising the government has been charged with crimes against the state.

Prosecutors have accused Bishop Rolando José Álvarez of Matagalpa of “conspiracy to attack the national integrity and propagating fake news through information technologies against the Nicaraguan society and state.”

The Catholic bishop made headlines in the summer after a picture of him kneeling in front of an armed police officer with his hands up in the air went viral.

The church leader was pleading with authorities not to raid a Catholic radio station he led in the community. It was all part of a government operation to close five other radio stations, arguing they didn’t meet the technical requirements to be on air.

Bishop Rolando was then placed under house arrest for several weeks before authorities decided to move him into custody in the country’s capital Managua.

On Tuesday, the 56-year-old appeared in court stripped of his clerical garb, appearing gaunt, according to observers.

Along with the bishop, three other church leaders from the Diocese of Matagalpa have been arrested and the government has ordered the arrest of another priest living in exile in Italy.

If found guilty, Bishop Rolando could face up to 15 years in prison. His trial is due to start on 10th January.

Earlier this week, persecution watchdog Christian Solidarity Worldwide published a damning report accusing the Nicaraguan government of committing serious freedom of religion and belief violations.

It highlighted several cases of Christians being persecuted and punished for their faith, including imprisonment, forced expulsion from the country and confiscation of property, among others.


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