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Nicaragua: Another Catholic priest has been arbitrarily arrested



Daniel Esparza - published on 10/20/22

Fr. Uriel Vallejos, in exile in Italy since early September, denounced the “kidnapping” of Fr. Enrique Martínez, parish priest of the Santa Marta parish in Managua.

Last month, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega accused Catholic leaders of being a “gang of murderers,” claiming that bishops in Nicaragua called on protesters to kill him during 2018 demonstrations, and scorning Pope Francis’ call for dialogue in the country. Now, according to exiled Nicaraguan priest Uriel Vallejos, another Catholic priest was irregularly arrested and taken into custody.

On October 14, Fr. Uriel Vallejos, in exile in Italy since early September, denounced the “kidnapping” of Nicaraguan priest Enrique Martínez, parish priest of the Santa Marta parish in Managua.

In his personal Twitter account, Fr. Vallejos said, “Yesterday [October 13] at 5:00 p.m., the parish priest of St. Martha’s Church in Managua, Father Enrique Martínez G., was kidnapped […] The priests and the Catholic Church demand the liberation and the cessation of the persecution against the Church and the clergy. Justice, freedom and democracy!”

The human rights organization “Nicaragua Nunca Más” also denounced the arrest via Twitter, noting that the place where Martínez is being held remains unknown. According to the organization, with Martínez’s arrest “the number of priests deprived of their liberty rises to 11, including Monsignor [Bishop] Rolando Álvarez, who has been illegally under ‘house arrest’ for 72 days.” Other organizations, like the Central American Center for Transdisciplinary Studies, explain that at least 60 priests, nuns, and friars have been forced to leave Nicaragua since 2018.

It is assumed that Martínez was taken to El Chipote prison, where political prisoners are detained, denied communication, and tortured. Nicaraguan priests detained there include Father Óscar Danilo Benavidez; the rector of John Paul II University, Father Ramiro Tijerino Chávez; the vicar of the Cathedral of Matagalpa, Father José Luis Díaz Cruz; and his predecessor, Father Sadiel Antonio Eugarrios Cano.

NicaraguaPersecution of Christians
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