Church denounces arrest and disappearance of priest in Nicaragua

The Diocese of Siuna, in Nicaragua, denounced this Monday (15) the arrest and disappearance of one of its priests, amid the repression of the dictator Daniel Ortega’s regime against the Church Catholic Church in the country.

“On Sunday afternoon, 14 in August, priest Óscar Benavidez, parish priest of Espírito Santo Parish, was arrested in the municipality of Mulukuku, in the North Caribbean Autonomous Region of Nicaragua, according to information released by the diocese, which indicated that it did not know the reasons for the priest’s detention. “We hope that the authorities keep us informed”, points out the official note.

The Diocese of Siuna made an appeal for the Catholic faithful to unite in prayer for Benavidez, whose “only mission is and was to announce the good news of Jesus Christ, who is the word, life and salvation for all.”

The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) announced that the priest was arbitrarily detained. “According to information, he was removed from his vehicle and taken in a van, with an unknown direction,” the organization said in a statement.

Benavidez is the third religious arrested this year in Nicaragua, and the ninth who is in police custody, including Bishop Rolando Álvarez, in addition to five other priests who have been detained since the 4th.

The diocese of Siuna was the first to offer public support Álvarez, who the National Police accuses of trying to “organize violent groups”, although no evidence has been presented in the case.

The arrest announced this Monday takes place in the midst of a series of actions by the Sandinista regime against the Catholic Church, which includes the ban on carrying out the procession of the pilgrim image of the Virgin of Fatima by the Archdiocese of Managua.

Ortega recently classified the detained bishops, who acted as mediators in the national crisis triggered in April 2018, as “terrorists”.

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