Nicaragua Removes Citizenship Church Leaders And Many Others
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
MANAGUA (Worthy News) – Nicaragua has stripped more than 90 people of their Nicaraguan citizenship, including the bishop of Managua and a Catholic priest, as part of a crackdown on opponents of the country’s autocratic President Daniel Ortega.
This week’s move came shortly after Italian priest Father Cosimo Damiano Muratori was expelled from Nicaragua after he called the 26-years-and-four-month prison sentence for Bishop Rolando Álvarez a “historic action.”
“The Ortega dictatorship” expelled 222 political prisoners to the United States on February 9, and Spain already offered them citizenship.
However, several Catholic sources confirmed that Bishop Álvarez refused to board the plane with the deportees and decided to stay in Nicaragua.
The next day, Bishop Álvarez has sentenced to 26 years and four months imprisonment on charges that included “treason” and “spreading fake news.”
He was also accused of “aggravated obstruction of an official in performing his duties to the detriment of the State and the Republic of Nicaragua.”
As criticism grew, authorities took away the citizenship of 94 Nicaraguans, such as Bishop Silvo Jose Baez of the capital Managua, and Uriel Vallejos, a priest from Matagalpa city.
LOSS OF CITIZENSHIP
Some of those affected by the loss of citizenship already live in exile abroad, church sources said.
Appeals Court Judge Ernesto Rodriguez accused them “of being fugitives from justices” and “traitors to the fatherland.”
Their properties were reportedly confiscated.
The Central American Section of the United Nations urged Nicaragua to end the “persecution” that experts said violated international law.
Left-wing Sandinista leader Ortega made his political comeback in the 2006 elections, leading Nicaragua through revolution and a civil war before being voted out in 1990. In 2016, he won a third consecutive term, despite reported human rights violations.
Rights activists say a return to authoritarian methods, including the violent suppression of mass protests against pension reforms in 2018 has marked Ortega’s rule.
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