Nicaraguan Bishop Rolando Álvarez Sentenced to 26 Years in Prison

Nicaraguan Bishop Rolando Álvarez Sentenced to 26 Years in Prison

The Nicaraguan government of dictator Daniel Ortega has found Bishop Rolando Álvarez guilty of treason for his criticism of the regime, sentencing him to 26 years and 4 months in prison.

For his crimes of treason of the homeland, undermining national integrity, and spreading fake news, the bishop of Matagalpa has also been stripped of his Nicaraguan citizenship.

The sentence was read on Friday afternoon in the Managua courts by magistrate Octavio Rothschuh, president of the first chamber of the Court of Appeals. According to the ruling, Álvarez is guilty of a series of crimes against laws approved by the National Assembly in 2021 as a juridical framework to accuse and sentence political dissidents who have stood up to the Ortega regime.

“Let the accused Rolando José Álvarez Lagos be known as a traitor of the homeland,” read the sentence handed down by Managua district judge Nidia Camila Tardencilla and read by Rothschuh.

“In the same way, be it declared that the criminal has lost his rights of citizenship in perpetuity, for perpetrating the crime of undermining national integrity to the detriment of the State and Nicaraguan society,” the ruling said.

“April 13, 2049 is established as a provisional date for the completion of the sentence,” the magistrate added.

On Thursday, Álvarez refused to leave Nicaragua with 222 political prisoners who were also stripped of their citizenship and deported to Washington D.C. on a plane chartered by the U.S. government. “Let them go free, I will pay their sentence,” Álvarez said.

Nicaraguans considered political prisoners Pedro Vazquez, left, and opposition leader Juan Sebastián Chamorro, right, arrive to an hotel in Chantilly, Va., Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. Pedro Vazquez and Juan Sebastián Chamorro were among some 222 prisoners of the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega who arrived from Nicaragua to the Washington Dulles International Airport on Thursday, after an apparently negotiated release. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Ortega called Álvarez’ refusal to join the other prisoners in leaving the country an act of “arrogance.”

Police took the 56-year-old bishop out of the building where he had been serving house arrest and transferred him to La Modelo prison, on the outskirts of Managua, known as one of the most brutal in Latin America, where beatings and torture are a daily affair.

Nicaraguan police raided Álvarez’ residence at dawn on August 19, where he had already been under de facto house arrest for two weeks. At the time, the security forces took him to the capital of Managua along with four priests, two seminarians, and a layman.

He was held without formal charges until this past December, when the Ortega government finally accused him formally.

The National Police, led Ortega’s brother-in-law Francisco Díaz, accused the prelate of trying to “organize violent groups,” allegedly “for the purpose of destabilizing the State of Nicaragua and attacking the constitutional authorities,” but brought forward no evidence to substantiate this claim.

Álvarez has been a thorn in Ortega’s side, blaming him and his vice-president and wife Rosario Murillo for the increase in repression in the country.

“They are criminalizing and terrorizing this country,” the bishop declared in 2018, referring to the Ortega regime’s use of weapons and irregular forces.

In December, the U.S. bishops denounced the systematic aggression against the Catholic Church by the Ortega regime, while calling for the release of Bishop Álvarez.


The bishops said the Nicaraguan Government had charged Álvarez with “spurious crimes,” a ploy “denounced by human rights campaigners worldwide.”

Rockford Bishop David J. Malloy, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued a scathing statement denouncing this “injustice” against Bishop Álvarez.

“It is with dismay that we witness the continued deterioration of religious freedom and human rights in Nicaragua,” Bishop Malloy declared.

The bishop noted that Bishop Álvarez “had been kidnapped by the regime and isolated under house arrest without due process since August for denouncing the regime’s human rights abuses and the breakdown of the democratic order in Nicaragua.”

Thomas D. Williams is Breitbart Rome Bureau Chief and the author of The Coming Christian Persecution.

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By: Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.

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