Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Nicaragua says jailed bishop treated well in prison

UK government calls for 'immediate' release of Bishop Rolando Alvarez in  Nicaragua - The Catholic Network

Nicaragua's government on Tuesday said that jailed Catholic bishop Rolando Alvarez, who is serving a 26-year prison term for treason, is held under "preferential" conditions.

The assertion marked a rebuttal of two United Nations human rights experts who voiced "grave concern" earlier this month about the solitary confinement of Monsignor Alvarez in prison.

Alvarez, a strong critic of President Daniel Ortega, who has ruled Nicaragua since 2007, refused earlier this year to board a US-bound airplane with 222 other political prisoners forced into exile.

The 57-year-old Alvarez later was sentenced to a 26-year jail term for treason, spreading false news and undermining national integrity.

"The conditions of imprisonment are preferential and the regime of medical consultations, family visits and reception of packages is strictly complied with, contrary to what slanderous campaigns pretend to make believe," the Ministry of Interior said in a statement released by pro-government media.

The two UN human rights experts, Nazila Ghanea and Irene Khan, said on November 7 that Alvarez is held "in solitary confinement and in conditions of detention that gravely contravene the Nelson Mandela rules," UN rules for humane treatment of prisoners.

They called for his immediate and unconditional release.

The pro-government news portal El19 Digital and TV Channel 4 on Tuesday aired photos and video of Alvarez conversing with relatives in a small dining area adorned with plants and flowers, and sitting in a chair watching television.

Alvarez, bishop of Matagalpa, was not included among the 12 "indicted" priests in Nicaragua who were released on Oct. 18 and sent to Rome following an agreement between the government and the Vatican, making him the only Catholic prelate still imprisoned in the country.