A Nicaraguan court has ordered that a Roman Catholic bishop remain under house arrest on charges of “conspiracy” and “spreading false news,” a government media site said Tuesday.
The government website El 19 Digital said Matagalpa Bishop Rolando Álvarez has been formally charged with those crimes and “damaging the Nicaraguan government and society.”
The first hearing for Álvarez is scheduled for Jan. 10.
A warrant was also issued for a priest, Father Uriel Vallejos, who had already reportedly left Nicaragua.
The move Tuesday was the latest chapter in a crackdown on the church by the administration of President Daniel Ortega, which expelled the nuns from Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity religious order.
In March, Nicaragua expelled the papal nuncio, the Vatican’s top diplomat in Nicaragua.
Alvarez has been under house arrest since August. He had been a key religious voice in discussions of Nicaragua’s future since 2018, when a wave of protests against Ortega’s government led to a sweeping crackdown on opponents.Nicaragua orders bishop to remain under house arrest | Crux