(ZENIT News / Matagalpa, Nicaragua, 19.08.2022).- At dawn on Friday, August 19, Nicaraguan police forced their way into the Episcopal Curia, residence of the Bishop of Matagalpa, Rolando Alvarez, under siege for two weeks along with other priests, two seminarians and a layman. A few witnesses gave their testimony to ZENIT. They wish to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisals by the [Ortega] dictatorship. They said the police entered by force, took the Bishop and those accompanying him using violence.
The diocese’s Facebook account confirmed the event succinctly: “Right now the National Police has entered the Episcopal Curia of our Diocese of Matagalpa.” Initially, it wasn’t known where the kidnapped were taken and why, until the Police issued a press release stating:
The National Police, complying with its Constitutional Functions of Security, Tranquillity and Peace of Nicaraguan Families, communicates to our People:
- At dawn today, Friday, August 19, an operation was carried out in the premises of the Curia-House of the City of Matagalpa, which made possible the recovery of normality for the Matagalpa Citizenry and Families.
- Awaited for several days with much patience, prudence and sense of responsibility was a positive communication by the Bishopric of Matagalpa, which never happened and that, as destabilizing and provocative activities persisted, made the mentioned Public Order operation necessary.
- The persons who were in that Curia-House were taken, with respect and observation of their Rights, to the City of Managua for the investigations of the Law.
The Lord Bishop remains under house protection in this Capital City and was able to meet with family members this morning.
- Also this morning, the Cardinal and Vice-President of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, The Most Revd Leopoldo Brenes, visited him and they both talked at length.
- The other persons who were taken to Managua continue carrying out their respective formalities in the Department of Judicial Assistance.
- The Lord Vicar, Monsignor Oscar Escoto remains in the Curia-House of Matagalpa in his capacity as Ecclesial Authority and without any police or movement restrictions.
The National Police reiterates to Nicaraguan Families that it continues complying with its Functions and Duties of Public Order and Security, according to the Constitution and the Laws of our Nicaragua.
From what is distilled of the aforementioned press release of the Nicaraguan Police, Monsignor Rolando Álvarez and the other priests (José Luis Díaz, Sadiel Eugarrios, Óscar Escoto and Raúl González) as well as the two seminarians (Darvin Leyva and Melkin Sequeira) and the layman (Sergio Cárdenas) are in Managua, the capital.
The press release explains that they were detained for “persisting in destabilizing and provocative activities,” but it doesn’t spell out what those activities were. In fact, the accusation is strange as, in practice, they were under house arrest for two weeks, when the police took the luxury of entering the premises at dawn using violence.
Practically all the Latin American Episcopates and those of Spain and the United States have expressed their solidarity in opposing this violation of human rights. The Holy See has yet to issue a public or official statement.