The Diocese of Siuna published a statement denouncing the priest’s abduction, while the faithful prayed for him and asked God to “save Nicaragua” and protect Benavidez and all the persecuted priests.
A trial riddled with irregularities
According to the Nicaraguan media outlet 100% Noticias, Judge Nancy Aguirre Gudiel of the Tenth Court of the Criminal Trial District of Managua found Benavidez guilty of the crimes of “conspiracy to undermine national security and sovereignty” and “spreading fake news.”
According to the priest’s defense, his “crime” was allegedly expressing his opinion in a social media post, the contents of which apparently have never been published by the court.
The Nicaraguan news outlet Mosaico reported that the only hearing for the trial took place in less than eight hours.
The prosecutor’s office brought in residents of Mulukukú as witnesses, one of whom didn’t even know Benavidez.
Judge Aguirre disallowed several pieces of evidence presented by the defense, including the testimony of Bishop Álvarez.
In addition, in the charges against the priest, Álvarez is accused of being a “ringleader of illegal actions.”
The judge set Jan. 24 as the date for a possible sentencing hearing, although she also left open the possibility of issuing an official decree.
In total there are nine Nicaraguan priests whom the dictatorship has accused of the crime of “conspiracy.”
Níckolas García, a journalist for EWTN Noticias, contributed to this article.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.