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The United States asks Nicaragua for the “immediate release” of Bishop Rolando Álvarez

The Government of the United States has requested this Monday the “immediate release” of the Nicaraguan bishop Rolando Álvarez, after he has been sentenced to 26 years in prison for the alleged commission of crimes of conspiracy, propagation of false news, obstruction of functions and contempt to authority.

“We condemn this action by the Government of Nicaragua and urge the immediate release of Bishop Álvarez,” said the spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price, before reiterating the Biden Administration’s call for “the release of the people imprisoned in Nicaragua for exercising their fundamental freedoms”.

Price has indicated that the US authorities continue to “ask the Nicaraguan government to release those who are being held for doing nothing but exercising the right that is as universal for them as it is for people around the world.”

The Nicaraguan Justice sentenced Bishop Álvarez to 26 years in prison this Friday, losing his nationality after being declared a “traitor to the homeland”, all this one day after 222 people were deported from Nicaragua on a plane bound for the United States , within an unprecedented measure, since they had been accused of allegedly inciting violence and terrorism, as well as perpetrating “economic destabilization” actions.

“When we spoke late last week about the arrival of 222 former Nicaraguan political prisoners in the United States, we made it very clear that it was a welcome step, that it was a constructive step, but that it was by no means a panacea for the many concerns that we have with the Nicaraguan regime, including the repression and oppression that it continues to exercise against its own people,” explained the State Department spokesman.

“With the 222 political prisoners who were released last week and allowed to travel to the United States, there are still many more political prisoners who remain in prison,” Price lamented.

Álvarez is a member of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua (CEN) and in the country he is recognized for his work in defense of Human Rights against Sadinista oppression. In fact, in 2022 he became the first bishop of the Catholic Church to be arrested since Ortega took power in 2007.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega previously called the Church a “perfect dictatorship” and “used” its bishops to “launch a coup” in the Central American country, assuring that some priests called for bloodshed during the wave of protests in 2018, which resulted in the deaths of more than 300 people.

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