Inter-American Court of Human Rights demands immediate release of Nicaraguan Bishop Álvarez

Nicaragua bishop alvarez Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, is monitored by police in early August 2022. | Photo credit: Diocese of Matagalpa

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) has demanded that the Nicaraguan government “immediately proceed to release” the bishop of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, Rolando José Álvarez Lagos, whom the regime in February sentenced to 26 years and four months in prison for being “a traitor to the homeland.”

In its June 27 ruling, the IACHR also demanded that, while “the necessary administrative procedures for the immediate release” of the bishop are carried out, that Álvarez be guaranteed “decent treatment” with access to health services, adequate food, and contact with relatives and lawyers.

“This order cannot be used to delay the release of the beneficiary,” the court decision specifies.

In its resolution, the IACHR also required the Nicaraguan government to report on the bishop’s situation by July 7 at the latest.

Álvarez was sentenced on Feb. 10, one day after the dictatorship of President Daniel Ortega deported 222 political prisoners, including several priests, to the United States. 

The bishop of Matagalpa was included in that group, but he refused to board the plane that would have taken him to freedom unless he first could meet and consult with the priests already aboard the plane and also the Nicaraguan bishops, a request that was denied and that Ortega later called “absurd.” 

In addition to the ruling by the IACHR, on March 3, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the Nicaraguan dictatorship to release Álvarez and other political prisoners, and on June 15 the European Union Parliament called on the regime “to demonstrate that Bishop Rolando Álvarez is alive.”

The EU Parliament also demanded “his immediate and unconditional release and that of all political prisoners, opposition activists, human rights and environmental defenders, members of the Catholic Church, and arbitrarily detained journalists.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.