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Nicaraguan police detain bishop critical of President Daniel Ortega

Nicaraguan police raided a house where a bishop critical of President Daniel Ortega had been placed under house arrest and took him to an unknown destination in the early hours of Friday, religious and human rights groups said. Rolando Alvarez, the head of the northern diocese of Matagalpa, had been under house arrest for two […]

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Nicaraguan police raided a house where a bishop critical of President Daniel Ortega had been placed under house arrest and took him to an unknown destination in the early hours of Friday, religious and human rights groups said. Rolando Alvarez, the head of the northern diocese of Matagalpa, had been under house arrest for two weeks along with five priests, one seminarian and a cameraman for a religious television channel.

Local media reported all were arrested but Reuters was unable to independently verify the events. Neither the government nor the police released statements. Nicaraguan authorities have detained at least three priests in recent months while others have gone into exile.

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The relationship between the Catholic Church and the Ortega government has been severely strained after a harsh crackdown on anti-Ortega protests in 2018. Earlier this month, police said they were investigating Alvarez for forming violent groups and alleged conspiracy.

“With a heart full of pain and indignation, I condemn the nighttime kidnapping of Monsignor Alvarez,” said exiled Nicaraguan Bishop Silvio Baez in a tweet. “The dictatorship has once again surpassed its own evil and diabolic spirit.” He called for Alvarez to be freed and urged those with information on his whereabouts to come forward.

The head of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, also condemned the detentions in a statement and demanded “their immediate freedom and those of all political prisoners.” The niece of the 55-year-old bishop Alvarez said police had that same morning raided the house belonging to his parents in the capital Managua.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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