Nicaragua arrests two more Catholic priests – El Sol de México

Nicaraguan police arrested two more Catholic priests on Friday, raising the number of clerics detained this week to at least eight, according to two sources close to the church and exiled opposition groups.

The sources, who did not want to be identified, said the two priests were arrested for publicly praying for imprisoned bishop Rolando Álvarez, a strong critic of President Daniel Ortega.

“They were all arrested for refusing to stop mentioning Bishop Álvarez in their sermons,” said one of the sources, mentioning Marco Díaz and Bayardo Aguilar as the latest clerics detained.

The source said later Friday that Aguilar had been released. The Government has not issued any statement explaining the reasons for the priests’ detention.

In recent years, the president has accused several church leaders of acting against his administration, while Nicaraguan clergy say they are victims of a growing campaign of persecution through arrests, property confiscations and other legal measures.

Two other high-ranking priests were arrested on Thursday, both with close ties to Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, archbishop of Managua and the highest-level figure in the Central American country’s Catholic hierarchy.

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Brenes has made no public statements about the arrests and declined to comment when contacted by Reuters on Friday.

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