Tegucigalpa (EFE).- The Nicaraguan bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos, very critical of the government of President Daniel Ortega, was sentenced this Friday to 26 years and 4 months in prison after being convicted of crimes considered “treason against the homeland” , and was stripped of his nationality.
Magistrate Octavio Rothschuh Andino, president of Chamber One of the Managua Court of Appeals, read the sentence against Bishop Álvarez, who was sentenced one day after he refused to board a private plane along with 222 Nicaraguan prisoners who were released and sent to the United States.
After refusing to board the plane, President Ortega announced last night that Álvarez had been transferred from his residence, where he had been in house arrest since last August, to the National Penitentiary System, known as Nicaragua’s model prison.
Álvarez, 56, is the first bishop to be arrested, charged and convicted since Ortega returned to power in Nicaragua in 2007.
The bishop was abducted at dawn on August 19 by the Police from a provincial episcopal palace along with four priests, two seminarians and a cameraman, after having been confined for 15 days.
They declare him a “traitor to the homeland” and strip his nationality
“Keep the defendant Rolando José Álvarez Lagos as a traitor to the country,” according to the sentence handed down by the judge of the second criminal district court of Managua, Nidia Camila Tardencilla, although it was read by magistrate Rothschuh Andino.
The court found the chief guilty for being the author of the crimes of undermining national integrity, propagation of false news through information and communication technologies, aggravated obstruction of functions, disobedience or contempt of authority, all committed in real bankruptcy and to the detriment of Nicaraguan society and the State of Nicaragua.
In addition, the Nicaraguan bishop was permanently disqualified from exercising public office on behalf of or at the service of the State of Nicaragua, as well as holding positions of popular election.
“In the same way, the loss of citizen rights of the convicted person is declared, which will be perpetual, all this for being the author of the crime of impairment of national integrity to the detriment of the State and Nicaraguan society,” according to the ruling.
Likewise, the court declared “the loss of Nicaraguan nationality to the penalized Rolando José Álvarez Lagos.”
Details of the sentence against Álvarez
For the crime of undermining national integrity, the religious was sentenced to 15 years in prison, 5 years for the crime of spreading false news, another 5 years and 4 months for the crime of aggravated obstruction of functions, and 1 year for the crime of contempt of authority to the detriment of the State of Nicaragua.
In addition, he was sanctioned with an 800-day fine (56,461.15 córdobas or $1,555).
“The prison sentences imposed will be served successively: 26 years and 4 months in prison,” according to the sentence, which establishes that the bishop will remain in prison until April 13, 2049.
The bishop was scheduled to face trial on February 15, however it was brought forward after the hierarch refused to board a plane with 222 other prisoners.
Ortega called Álvarez “the arrogant behavior of someone who is already considered the head of the Nicaraguan (Catholic) Church, the leader of the Latin American Church and who should even think about occupying the position of His Holiness, the Pope” Francisco , for refusing to go to the US.
“He is deranged, but hey, that will have to be determined by the judicial authorities and the medical authorities who will also have to attend to him, because now that he arrived at the model, he arrived that he was a madman,” Ortega launched last night.